Vail Valley businesses celebrate a busy 4th
Bill Rey has spent more than 25 years in business in Vail, Colorado. He’s rarely been as happy as he was over the holiday weekend.”For us, it was probably the busiest day ever after the parade,” said Rey, owner of the Claggett Rey Gallery on Meadow Drive in Vail Village. “Usually the town’s full, but people aren’t coming in. This year, people came in.”Buyers aren’t snapping up fine art they way they have some years in the past, Rey, said. But business was steady, he said.”And it was amazing to see so many familiar faces coming in over the weekend,” Rey said.Local business owners and managers say this 4th of July was a good one for Vail and the valley.In East Vail, Vail Racquet Club general manager Matt Ivy reported his place was full over the weekend. But, he added, a lot of people waited until the last minute to book rooms, even over one of the valley’s traditionally busy holidays.”I’d say we were still 30 percent vacant two weeks out (from the holiday),” Ivy said. “A week out, we were probably only 85 percent full.”At the Westin Riverwalk Resort & Spa in Avon, the hotel was only about half reserved in mid-June, sales and marketing director Kristen Pryor said. The hotel ended up about 90 percent full for the holiday weekend.Ivy said it’s a little harder to plan when reservations come in so late, but Pryor said if the current booking patterns continue, the Westin will just assume the people will come, even if they haven’t booked yet.The Racquet Club can be a challenge to market, too, given that it’s in the shadow of Vail Pass. But, Ivy said, once people find the place, most come to appreciate its off-the-beaten-path charms.Location apparently isn’t a problem several miles down Gore Creek at the Westside Cafe in West Vail. Co-owner Mike Dennis said the cafe couldn’t have been much busier over the weekend, with a mix of locals and out-of-town guests coming in primarily for breakfast and lunch.The secret, other than a visible location, could be the cafe’s menu, Dennis said.”For this year, anyway, I think we’re priced right, between $10 and $20,” Dennis said.In Avon, Mike Welle of Finnegan’s Wake said that big restaurant also had a good weekend. The deck was packed for Friday’s night’s fireworks in Avon, and the place did steady business for the rest of the weekend, Welle said. “We’re still off a little bit from last year,” Welle said. “But summer’s slowly improving. We’re booking lots of live music, and we’ve got the outdoor bar on the deck. It’s working well.”Rey said some consumer confidence may be coming back.”It was great to see so many friendly faces, and have the mountain so green and not on fire,” he said. “It’s encouraging, but we’re not out of the woods yet. We’ve still got a long way to go.”Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.