Vail Valley businesses report solid holiday sales
Vail Valley business owner Jon Meckem isnt as tense as he was in October.This is Meckems first season running 3D World Class Ski, a rental, repair and retail shop in Avon. Like many local business owners, he was anxious before the ski season started about how the nations economy would affect his business. Several weeks into the season, though, hes feeling better about the way the winter is playing out.Meckem said all the phases of his business are humming along at the moment. But, he added, hes taken some steps businesses usually avoid in normal years.Meckem didnt order much new inventory for this season, relying instead on discount sales of last years gear. And, looking at his inventory in late December, the store had a big Christmas-week sale. Thats usually when full retail prices are the norm.But the discounts have helped bring people in, Meckem said, and inventory is moving the way it needs to.It helps, too, to have the new Westin Riverwalk Resort & Spa open across the street.Im pretty comfortable with the way its going so far, he said.At the Westin, the new Avondale restaurant is doing a brisk business.Its been great at both restaurants, said Sue Barham, the marketing director for both Avondale and Larkspur in Vail. It seems like people are in town and having a good time.But Larkspur has a week-long food and wine event planned for next week, historically a slack time during the ski season.Barham said the week is just part of Larkspurs continuing efforts to become known as a more wine-savvy place. But Larkspur isnt alone in trying new things to bring people through the doors.Weve lowered some of our prices, said Collin Baugh, owner of Avons Vin48 restaurant. We trying to do anything we can to get people in.Vin48 has been open just a year, but Baugh said the restaurants holiday-season numbers are up over last year. In Vail, Steve Kaufman has found a winning formula for weeknight business chicken wings. His place, the Tap Room in Vail Village, has an all-you-can-eat deal on wings every Monday.You cant get in here on Mondays, Kaufman said, adding that the restaurant will usually go through 10,000 wing pieces every Monday.While the Monday business is steady, Kaufman said his holiday numbers are actually up over last year.People love the deals, he said.Kaufman said people in the business community can also have short memories.People forget about last years snowstorms, Kaufman said. They couldnt get here, and then they couldnt get home. While the new year still has plenty of question marks dotting the calendar, those interviewed for this story agreed that the seasons big snowfall so far has helped business.My business is a function of people being in town, Kaufman said. When there are people in town, there are people at my place.