Who’s open in Vail in the offseason?
VAIL ” There are economic reasons for staying open during mud season, and there are emotional reasons, said Steve Kaufman, an owner of the Tap Room.
The economic reasons perhaps aren’t very strong right now. The Tap Room loses money during the slow offseason, but the restaurant owes it to its customers to stay open all year, Kaufman said.
“If we would shut down we would probably lose less money, but it’s important that we’re there for the people that support us during the year,” he said. “I wish more businesses would stay open to create some sort of economic vitality in the town and give people a reason to come into town.”
When the lifts stop running in April, Vail businesses must decide whether to stay open during the slow “mud season” in April and May. Some say it’s not worth it to stay open while the snow is melting and before summer weather attracts visitors back to town.
Others say they remain open to help Vail become more of a year-round resort.
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“You can’t build the shoulder season with closed businesses,” Kaufman said.
The Gasthof Gramshammer and Pepi’s Restaurant are closed for a month. Owner Sheika Gramshammer said they need to do maintenance on their building, which is about 40 years old. The hotel and restaurant close each year in the spring, although they do stay open during the autumn offseason, she said.
“Our building is one of the older buildings and it needs more upkeep,” she said.
Even if they did stay open, they would probably have few customers, she said.
“It’s not worth it,” she said.
Along Bridge Street in Vail Village on Tuesday, several businesses were closed, including the Mountain Adventure Center, Christy Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and Fantasia Furs. Kemo Sabe was open, though.
“We never close,” said Jean Meckstroth, the manager.
They had had one customer that day, she said, but they see a fair amount of customers ” including many phone orders ” during this slow time, she said.
She was surprised that so many businesses shut their doors, she said.
“That’s what blows me away, that so many do close,” she said.
Liz Krinsky, gallery manager for J. Cotter Gallery on Wall Street, said they are able to stay open because they have a loyal customer base from 27 years of business.
“Because we’ve been here so long, we have our customers that aren’t just here for the season,” she said.
Monday was a fairly busy day in the gallery, she said, but Tuesday had been very quiet.
“It’s like Death Valley out there,” she said.
The Fur Club on Gore Creek Drive will be closed for more than two months, reopening on July 1.
“It would cost more money to stay open,” said Stephanie Pulkrabek, the manager.
There are few customers around once the lifts close, and the construction in Vail makes it that much harder to attract business, she said.
Kaye Ferry, executive director of the Vail Chamber and Business Association, said businesses need to stay open in order for Vail to be perceived as a year-round shopping destination. And that won’t happen overnight, she said.
“If these people ever want to change the system, they are going to have to get on board and bite the bullet for a few seasons while we retrain the public,” she said.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or email@example.com.