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The crowds are coming

by Lourdes Ferzacca

Admittedly, the past three weeks in town have been difficult, but not necessarily more so than in shoulder seasons past. Now, after patiently waiting out the slowest of the season, Vail business owners can look forward to crowds on Memorial Day, for the Teva Mountain Games, and the rapidly approaching farmers markets, Hot Summer Nights concerts and the new BBQ Bonanza on Bridge Street scheduled for June 23.As in the past few summers, however, these crowds will be navigating the construction sites, and this slight inconvenience can pose problems to those of us more affected by the construction than others. Although collectively we are now accustomed to the sights and sounds of construction, it is always difficult for merchants to feel the effects of decreasing business, especially after a fantastic winter. There are, however, a few small, if not obvious ways to ease your construction concerns.At the top of the list, the town of Vail has done an excellent job of communicating with residents and business owners regarding the scale and timeline of many projects. With the weekly construction updates and several weekly construction meetings, pertinent information is available when and if you need it. By reading through these reports and attending these meetings, all of your questions can be answered, and your concerns discussed. The Vail Chamber & Business Association has a representative at each of these meetings, so feel free to direct any questions to us.Many of you have taken advertising space in the town of Vail and chamber-sponsored program specifically designed to promote consumer traffic to open businesses. Taking part in this program is a positive way to let both customers and residents know who is open and what great specials are now being offered. And with the start of the ever-popular shopping spree, visitors will have even more of a reason to step into those open businesses. Several businesses have stayed open despite construction in extremely close proximity to their entrances. For these merchants, it is extremely important to indicate how and where potential customers can enter your business.Physical signs in front of your business are a must, and during the busy construction season, exemptions to the sign code are readily available through application at the community development department at the town. Call with any questions at 479-2100. Also consider advertising this information in the newspaper, on the radio or your businesss Web site.Business promotions are also a good idea. With most restaurants and retail shops already offering great spring and summer deals, visitors are indeed lucky to be here at a time when virtually everything is on sale, discounted, or has a special rate attached to it. You also may want to consider holding special events with themes, or giveaways to entice customers.Therefore, instead of begrudging any noise or inconveniences, this positive spin shows customers that you care and still want them to have a good experience at your business. Also, be sure to tell your employees how important it is to keep a smiling face during the height of construction. We all can also create a positive spin by telling our guests what a great result we have to look forward to after all of our projects are completed.Although this information may seem obvious, it is easy to forget such small steps during the spring business season. We encourage as much community participation as possible in town happenings, so even with all of our busy schedules, its important to attend construction and town meetings to remain informed of all changes. Member businesses with news to share can also send information via e-mail to the chamber at info@vailchamber.org, and we will consider getting your news in one of our publications. Thanks for a great spring season thus far!


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