Business owners give 2002 mixed reviews
SUMMIT COUNTY – Dillon Dam Brewery owner George Blincoe, like most local business owners, looks back on 2002 with a sense of relief. Relief that it’s over, and, in Blincoe’s case, that he survived an economically turbulent year relatively unscathed.
“We were up a little,” he said. “If we were up at all, we’re just as happy as could be. It was a funky year.”
Still in the wake of 9-11, business owners also dealt last year with the effects of low lake levels, tourist fears stemming from Colorado’s well-publicized wildfires and continuing blows to the construction industry.
Don Sather, who owns BigHorn Materials in Silverthorne, saw his business fall by 5 percent. He wasn’t surprised, and he doesn’t expect 2003 to be any better.
“For 2003, we’re forecasting being down another 3 to 5 percent based on what we know today,” he said. “That’s our best guess now. There are so many factors that could turn that around quickly, or make it worse.”
It isn’t just Sather who suffers when his business drops off. A slowdown in building has a ripple effect throughout the county, he said.
“There are so many businesses in Summit County related to construction,” he said. “If people are having to leave the construction field and leave the county, that will have an impact on everybody who’s out there, whether it’s a gas station or a retailer.”
Couple that with a slowdown in tourism, and the local economy stalls. Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters’ owner Jim Rodkey saw that first-hand last summer. Wildfires and drought had a devastating effect on his summer business.
“To me, the summer was really almost a killer,” he said. “I remember people sitting out in front of the coffee shop here, looking up in the sky and commenting on the smoke. These were tourists, saying, “Why did I come up here?’
“Frisco gets a lot of business from rafting companies, with the three or four companies here,” he said. “They had almost no rafting business. I know that affected us.”
Main Street Outlet owner Steve Lapinsohn is among those business owners who were happy to see business stay flat in 2002.
“Last year was as good as any year we’ve ever had,” he said. “After Sept. 11, it was hard to say what would happen. But very bluntly, I think people wanted something to make them feel better. That’s why they did come to the mountains.
“This year is a whole different story. I think now the dust has settled and people are saying, “We’ve got to survive.’ I would doubt (business will be as good).”
Jane Reuter can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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