A successful Labor Day weekend won’t make up losses from summer, Summit County businesses report
Labor Day weekend brought good numbers for Summit County businesses but not enough to make up for the rest of the summer.
This summer, the general consensus among businesses has suggested that the summer of 2021 was unbeatable for sales.
“I think the huge contributing factor was that people weren’t traveling across seas, and schools weren’t totally in session,” said Linda Watts, store manager at Ruby Jane Boutique in Breckenridge. “So people stayed longer, more people came up.”
According to past reporting, both tourism numbers and occupancy through July 31 of 2022 were lower than numbers in both 2021 and 2019, though prices this year did not decrease in accordance.
In comparison to 2021, summer 2022 dampened visitor numbers with its heavy rains, inflation and increased gas prices.
Changes in the economy have not spared businesses, either.
“After COVID, and after the housing crisis and labor shortage, we’ve had to reevaluate,” said Jonny Greco, owner of Greco’s Pastaria in Frisco. He said this has affected staffing and hours the most. Instead of being open every day of the week for almost 12 hours a day, Greco’s has switched to six days a week with lunch and dinner shifts.
This has “inevitably skewed” sales, Greco said, but still — “In comparison to the summer before coming out of COVID it was definitely down a little bit,” he said.
Steven Kaufman, owner of Red Mountain Grill in Dillon, reported that in the first week of September sales were down, “trending on, probably, what’s been going on all summer,” he said. The first week of July this year was also down in comparison to last year’s, he added.
When asked if Labor Day could make up for this summer’s dip in sales, Watts at Ruby Jane quickly said no.
Sales were good, she reported, but “Even still — compared to last year — we were slower this Labor Day than we were last Labor Day,” she said. “We were quite a bit down compared to last year, so we definitely didn’t make up for being down the last couple of months.”
Similar to Greco’s Pastaria, Ruby Jane has cut back on staffing.
Following last summer’s success, Watts said they made a concerted effort to gear up stock and staffing. Shifts were cut shortly after, however.
“That’s the one thing you can rely on — the inconsistency of what your expectations are,” Kaufman of Red Mountain Grill said.
Despite the disappointing numbers, many still said that Labor Day brought a welcome change.
“We had a really, really strong Labor Day,” Greco reported.
He said it compared to Fourth of July and even the Frisco BBQ Challenge that was held over Father’s Day weekend, an event that brought hoards of people to Frisco’s Main Street.
Peter Sarafin, the co-owner of Wit’s End Antiques in Frisco, shared that traffic was noticeably more dense over Labor Day weekend.
Wit’s End is a newer business that made its debut on Frisco’s Main Street the first week of July. Even though Sarafin didn’t experience a full summer of sales, he reported Labor Day brought enough revenue in two days for an entire week of sales.
“Sunday was just the day,” Greco said. “I mean, it was — from open to close — really, really rockin’. It was a nice way to round out the summer.”
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