Concerts hurt business, some Vail retailers say |

Concerts hurt business, some Vail retailers say

Melanie Wongmwong@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado Concerts, festivals and other special events in Vail, Colorado are meant to draw crowds to town, but some village businesses say that the events may be a little too successful.Concerts, such as Vails Street Beat series, can be disruptive to business, and the younger crowds that the events usually draw arent shopping in village stores, some retailers said.In particular, CarniVail week in late February, which included a Street Beat concert, a Fat Tuesday parade, and a CarniVail concert, drew protests from store owners along Gore Creek Drive.Some of the businesses do very well when there are events there, and others dont like it, said Sybill Navas, special events coordinator for the town of Vail. With three back to back, I think it was just too much.

At Gorsuch Ltd., the staff spent the day asking concert-goers to get off their storefront furniture and herding drunk revelers holding beer cups out of the store, said director of operations Kathleen Barron.It definitely hurt sales that day, she said. It felt like that band was right inside the store the walls were vibrating.John Cogswell, owner of the Squash Blossom jewelry store, represented a handful of other Gore Creek Drive businesses in asking the town to move the concert venues or at least dont schedule three big events in one week.Were in favor of the events, of bringing entertainment, he said. But wed rather share them with other parts of the village.Many of those stores cater to an older demographic not found in the concert-going crowds, he said.Its difficult to pitch a lady on a $1,000 gold bracelet if they cant even hear you talk, Cogswell said.Events such as Taste of Vail, the Bravo! concert series and the Vail Dance Festival usually bring more customers to the higher-end retailers, but this year has been tough, said Ghiqui Hoffmann, owner of the Laughing Monkey. This year what has happened is that people come into town, they sleep, they eat, they ski, and theres not too much left over for say, a sweater, Hoffmann said. In fact, she saw more than two-and-a-half times more customers last March compared to this year, she said.

However, some bar and restaurant owners said that the events bring business and urged other owners to find ways to capitalize on the crowds.The events bring people into the villages who would not normally be in Vail, such as downvalley residents, said Jim Glendining, owner of The George, a village bar.Theres no denying that these events have contributed to the economy of Vail, he said. Its just the skill of the entrepreneur to make the most of these events.Tap Room owner Steve Kaufman said that small business owners shouldnt be complaining about too many people in the village no matter what demographic.Its not the towns responsibility to bring business to your door, he said. I benefit from a good proportion of these events. The more people, the better. Exposure for businesses is valuable, even if a concert goer doesnt walk into his business the same night, said Michael Staughton, owner of Los Amigos and Russells restaurants.Whether or not it directly benefits you at that immediate moment, any event is a good thing. Even if they walk by and dont come in, theyve seen my sign, and they might come in three months later, Staughton said.

Next year, organizers will make sure to spread out events so that so many festivities arent going on over one week, Navas said.The town will also try a new concert venue for the annual Spring Back to Vail concerts. The concerts will be held at the International Bridge in the village, with the stage set up in front of Solaris.Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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