Vail business boom in March |

Vail business boom in March

Cliff Thompson
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyJennifer Latimer in from Taxas checks out a shirt before her perches Wednesday at the Covered Bridge Store in Vail Village.

VAIL – Money changed hands in Vail businesses faster in March than you can say “charge it,” town sales tax reports are showing.And it was all courtesy of the Easter Bunny during the third month of the year. The volume of business was just about as good as it gets. Town sales tax collections for March were up a whopping 18 percent – $1.22 million vs. $1.41 million – over March 2004’s collections. But what the Easter Bunny brought in March – an influx of visitors, many from Mexico – was conspicuous by its absence in April, business owners said.”March and April together will probably even out,” said Steve Rosenthal of Colorado Footwear in Vail and Beaver Creek “You can’t get too excited about these kinds of things.”Sales taxes are generally accepted as an indicator of the health of the local economy. The additional $600,000 collected in March 2005 pushed collections to $7.45 million – 7.5 percent ahead of last year’s collections, town records show. Approximately 45 percent of the town’s annual operating revenue is derived from sales tax receipts.

Rosenthal sentiments were echoed by Bill Jewitt of Bart ‘N’ Yeti’s Restaurant in Lionshead. He said business in March and April was “close to a wash.””We might have been up a couple of points in April,” he said, adding that early March was a little slow.May’s receipts, which will be reported later in the summer, will show the effects of rain and snow that kept people out of the mountains, and will also show the effects of the construction that’s part of the downtown remodeling, Rosenthal said. Many old buildings in Vail and Lionshead will be remodeled or demolished and there will be streetscaping projects, too. The construction will halt for the summer and resume in the fall.”The tough part now is getting through the construction period,” he said. “They’ll patch it up June 24.”Over the last 12 years, Vail’s sales tax had flattened or failed to keep pace with inflation. The slowing rate of growth has been attributed to downvalley competition and westward migration of locals, among other factors, town leaders say.

The $1 billion renovation of the village and Lionshead is aimed at rejuvenating retail businesses by adding more hotel rooms and more retail businesses space.Quote: “You can’t get too excited about these kinds of things.” – Steve Rosenthal of Colorado Footwear

At a GlanceMarch sales tax in Vail2004 … $2.34 million2005….$2.76 million +18 percentStaff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or, Colorado

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