Thanksgiving business was good for some Vail Valley stores
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Thanksgiving holiday business success this year depended somewhat on what business person answered the question.
Restaurateurs were thrilled with weekend business and one ski shop owner’s tuning tables were humming. But a retailer and one lodge general manager are looking forward to Christmas.
“Business was fantastic – it was our strongest opening in at least 10 years,” said Buzz Busby of the Coyote Cafe in Beaver Creek. “It was cold Thursday, but everybody was just so happy – I never heard a peep about the weather.”
In Vail, Paul Ferzacca said he served about 170 turkey dinners at his restaurant, La Tour. In all, the restaurant served more than 200 dinners that evening.
“It was the busiest Thanksgiving we’ve had since owning the place,” Ferzacca said, adding that the rest of the weekend was a good one for his place, too.
Venture Sports owner Mike Brumbaugh said his place was busy renting gear in the few days before the holiday weekend, especially at the store’s location at the Ritz Carlton at Bachelor Gulch.
“The rentals were up marginally from last year,” Brumbaugh said. “But our ski tunes were just insanely busy.”
Most of those customers were locals, Brumbaugh said. Those people may have been coming in a little early because of the resorts’ great early-season snow.
The great snow put smiles on faces around the valley, but left some a bit baffled.
“There was great energy in town,” said Jenn Bruno, co-owner of Luca Bruno and Luca Bruno Due. But, she added, there didn’t seem to be a crush of people in town or on the mountain.
And, according to town of Vail parking official Gilbert Gonzales, the parking structures didn’t fill over the weekend.
“It wasn’t as crowded as we expected,” Bruno said.
And, she added, she didn’t see a lot of shopping bags in the hands of the people walking past her family’s two stores.
The weekend wasn’t all that great for one of Vail’s boutique lodges, either. Jeanne Fritch, general manager of the Sitzmark in Vail Village, said Thanksgiving bookings were only marginally better than they were last year.
“But we’re sold out for Christmas,” she said.
While Thanksgiving isn’t known for big destination-guest crowds, people interviewed for this story said great early snow could be setting the stage for a good Christmas season.
In Beaver Creek, Busby said the Thanksgiving push is going to dovetail nicely into this week’s Birds of Prey ski races.
But in Vail, there’s a traditional lull in business between Thanksgiving and Christmas, even with good snow.
And it’s the snow that’s bringing hope for sustaining business throughout the season.
“It was nice to see some life back in the village,” Bruno said. “I’m totally optimistic – it was pleasant to see families in town and crowded buses.”
At Beaver Creek, Busby said, “If this is any indication of how the winter’s going to be, it’s going to be great.”
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