Tallying up the Teva games
Restaurants and bars appeared to have out-sold their retailing neighbors during this past weekend’s Teva Mountain Games. But even if sales didn’t surge, a majority of Vail Village merchants voiced support for the sports festival and said they gained valuable exposure from the large crowds who attended the event that ended Sunday. Not only was the parking structure and “car-lined” frontage road reminiscent of July 4 or a busy spring ski day, the size of the crowd also invoked visions of busier times of year. Just two weeks ago, the streets in the village were completely torn up – cratered and hemmed in by orange construction fence and safety cones. But by Friday, the second day of the games, the Vail Village had been re-assmebled into a sports carnival. In the past few years the Teva games, originally a water sports competition, has expanded to mountain bike races and rock climbing. High profile bands have also performed concerts over the past few years. Tom Armstrong, owner of Blu’s restaurant on Gore Creek, said the event was great for his lunch business.
“I love the format changes Teva made this year,” Armstrong said. “There’s more for people to watch and the athletes are spectacular.”Armstrong also said he prefers not holding the event over Memorial Day weekend. Blu’s was closed during the off-season due to the construction around the village and just re-opened last week. He said it was great to open his restaurant with so much energy and vitality going on this early in the summer season.Next door at the Indian Paint Brush gift shop, employee Shannon Newman said sales weren’t too brisk, but she likes the foot traffic and seeing all the people walking around outside. “When people come in they’re very friendly and hopefully they’ll come back in if they visit again,” Newman said. Lacy Merett, who works at Colorado Footwear, said her sale table set up along Gore Creek attracted more buyers than full-priced items inside the store. Still, she said, the event was great, even though the crowds weren’t a “shoe shopping” kind of group.
Ned Mataraso, who owns Emata Clothing on Gore Creek, had similar sentiments. He said Teva-style events draw younger crowds that don’t spend a lot of money. However, he’s banking on a cumulative effect where people will come back to Vail in the future to ski and spend a little more time and money. “I’m waiting for the Ferrari club to visit,” he said with a laugh. Paul Gotthelf, owner of Gotthlef’s Jewelry on Wall Street, said he knew the Teva crowds didn’t contain many of his typical clients, but he still made a few extra sales. And he totally supports the event, he said. “I love this event. It’s fantastic,” Gotthelf said. “I’ll take this over the free street concerts anytime. Those are awful.” The restaurants were clearly the winners this weekend. Employees at Bogart’s Bar and Bistro in Crossroads, which opened just a year ago, said business was better than expected.
“I have no complaints and it doesn’t hurt that the Teva activities are going on just outside our front door,” manager Greg Ladow said.The guys in Pazzo’s were perhaps the busiest all weekend, catering to a nearly packed restaurant from morning to night. “Business has been awesome,” said pizza maker John Gaetzi. “We’ve got the music going, great pizza and we’re cheap.” In addition to a jammed dining room and wait list, Pazzo’s provided all of the pizza for the competitors and staff workers. “It’s been crazy busy,” Gaetzi said. “Usually we shut our kitchen down around 10 o’clock at night but on Friday we stayed open after the Ford Park concert and didn’t close until after 2 a.m.”It’s been fun,” he added, “but I’m looking forward to a break and getting back into the off-season mode for a few days.”