With the USA Pro Challenge bringing thousands of cycling fans to Breckenridge, it wouldn’t take a rocket surgeon to assume local businesses would see an increase in sales.
In the past, lodges, restaurants and retailers have seen the biggest increases in business, according to a 2011 town of Breckenridge survey. Although the trend is expected to hold true again this year, this was the first time Breckenridge hosted both a stage finish and a stage start in the three-year history of the Pro Challenge. And with visitors expected to extend their stays an extra day, expectations were higher than in the past.
On Wednesday, the consensus among local business owners and managers was hosting the Pro Challenge for two days was certainly a benefit for the town, but there was a clear difference in crowd traffic on Tuesday compared to Wednesday.
Justin and Teryn Guadagnoli, owners of Modis in Breckenridge, opened early Wednesday expecting a crowd to file in before the start of Stage 3.
“It was steady, but the night of the finish was definitely better than the start,” Teryn said. “Having the (Pro Challenge) here really does benefit the whole town. I loved the races they had for the kids. That was great.”
Down the street at Breck Sports, manager Toril Ashton had similar things to say about the amount of business her store received Tuesday and Wednesday. Not known as a biker’s haven, Ashton said they sold their fair share of jerseys. The big sellers, however, were skis and jackets.
“We’re not really a bike shop,” Ashton said. “The temperatures have been dropping a little at night, so a lot of people came in looking for soft shells and lighter insulated jackets.”
Local realtors also experienced from the increase in tourist traffic.
Rick Bunchman, realtor at Coldwell Banker in Breckenridge, said a lot of people came in asking about the local real estate market and may have mined a few leads from those inquiries. Coincidentally, his strongest leads all came from Texas families who came to Breckenridge to escape the heat.
“But at the end of the day I think it comes down to how great this event was for the town,” Bunchman said. “My son lives in Aspen and he said there was not as much (race) traffic as he as expecting. It sounds like we had much bigger crowds here.”
“It was steady, but the night of the finish was definitely better than the start. Having the (Pro Challenge) here really does benefit the whole town. I loved the races they had for the kids. That was great.”
Owner of Modis