Shops eager for holiday crowds
VAIL ” Luca Bruno had a tough spring, so he’s eager for summer. So are a lot of other merchants in Vail Village.
In this spring’s edition of the Vail Village streetscape construction project, upper Bridge Street and West Gore Creek Drive got the brunt of the big equipment and dust. For those businesses, the usually slow weeks in late April, May and June were even slower this year.
While shoppers could get to stores, there weren’t many people in town. That prompted several shops to close during the springtime construction blitz.
“We just shut down for six weeks,” said Connie Munk, owner of Munk Cashmere on Gore Creek Drive.
Now, she said, she’s ready for customers. “I hope and pray every night they come,” said Munk, who opened her shop just last year.
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Those prayers seem to be working. On Thursday afternoon, with the Fourth of July looming, Vail Village was almost bustling. The streets were busy, if not packed, and people lingered on restaurant patios and the benches along Gore Creek.
Bruno, owner of the store that bears his name on Gore Creek Drive, said tourists seem to be coming back in some strength.
“It’s coming up now,” Bruno said. “It’s good.”
Bruno is a wholehearted supporter of Vail’s continuing renovation. He explains to the tourists who come through the construction zone just what’s happening, and what awaits Vail on the other side of the work, he said.
“We need this stuff,” he said. “It’s going to be great.”
Sandy Manning is another Vail Village optimist. Manning, the manager of the Toy Store on Bridge Street, said most of the shoppers who made it into her store seemed willing to live with the mess.
“Maybe 90 percent of the people were just great,” Manning said. “Shops were having sales, the weather was great, and there were no crowds. I had maybe one family say they wouldn’t have come if they’d known.”
While spring work definitely made a mess, the project is drawing good reviews.
“The construction company was awesome,” said Jason Hoff of the Gore Creek Gallery. “They got in and got out pretty quick.”
Still, there was a lot of dust. And in a gallery, that means a lot of dusting.
“I try to stay positive, though,” Hoff said. “Once they’re done, this will be an even better place.”
Vail is always busy around the Fourth of July, but Bruno said he’s noticing a new trend.
“We have more second-home owners coming in for the summer,” he said. “They’re not just here in the winter any more.”
But among those who see more people filtering into the village with the advent of summer, one restaurant manager said he’s not getting a boost.
“It seems less busy than in years past,” said Andy Garrick, a manager at the Red Lion. “Our numbers have been down.”
Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vail Daily, Vail Colorado