‘It was just crazy’: Summit County businesses fare well over holiday weekend
FRISCO — Businesses old and new are coming out of a busy holiday weekend when locals and visitors brought a high volume of business to Summit County stores and restaurants.
One Breckenridge business owner reported higher sales than previous Labor Day weekends with mostly visitors in the stores while a new Dillon business saw mainly locals. Restaurant owners that don’t have access to outdoor seating say indoor capacity limits have been a difficult barrier.
Erin O’Brien, co-owner of Saved by the Wine, which hosted its grand opening Aug. 15, said the wine bar and bakery was slammed Friday, Sept. 4, as people came into town after a long drive in Interstate 70 traffic.
“We got really, really busy actually,” O’Brien said. “Lots of people, lots of visitors, lots of Denverites, and then we always get a good crowd of locals.”
O’Brien said Saturday and Sunday weren’t overwhelmingly busy, and she speculated people were engaging in outdoor activities during the day. She said Saved by the Wine saw more of a “dessert crowd” of mainly locals on Saturday and Sunday evenings for the wine bar’s happy hour, which includes half-off any bottle of sparkling wine with a dessert order from 8 p.m. to close daily.
In Breckenridge, Mary Pappas — bookkeeper and office manager for the local souvenir shops Mountain Tees, Arctic Attitude, The Christmas Store and Cabin Fever — said the weekend was “amazing” as far as business goes. She added that this has been one of the best Labor Day weekends the store has ever had.
“I just couldn’t believe the volume of sales,” Pappas said. “It was just crazy.”
Pappas said Mountain Tees and The Christmas Store saw the most traffic while Cabin Fever wasn’t quite as popular over the weekend. She noted that when she stopped into the stores on Saturday, the majority of customers seemed to be visitors, and she pointed out that it was especially busy around town over the weekend.
In Frisco, when 5th Avenue Grille owner Scooter Crawford talked via phone with the Summit Daily News at about 3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7, the restaurant was still bustling. Crawford said the weekend had been “crazy” and comparable to July weekends. He added that the restaurant’s sales are up compared to previous Labor Day weekends and that business hadn’t let up at all throughout the three days. Crawford said wait times weren’t terrible at around 30-45 minutes. He noted that the recent warm weather likely contributed to the business.
5th Avenue Grille is one of the Summit County restaurants that has benefited this summer from a closed-down Main Street, giving the restaurant access to more outdoor seating. While indoor capacity is limited to 50%, the restaurant has been able to place 10 tables in the street along Frisco’s Pedestrian Promenade as well as eight tables on its patio.
Sunshine Cafe in Silverthorne has limited outdoor seating, and owner Michael Spry said the restaurant has been essentially full all summer with its 50-person indoor capacity limit, making it difficult to compare Labor Day weekend to another summer weekend.
“Given the capacity restrictions that we have, we’re not as happy as we’d like to be compared to other years, but obviously we’re full and people are still coming and waiting for seats,” Spry said. “But it’s been a little difficult to tell if this has been any different from a traffic standpoint for Labor Day.”
Spry added that wait times have been a challenge for many restaurants, including his. Despite a waitlist of people who want to dine, Spry said his business is down overall, which he attributes mainly to public health restrictions. This summer, Spry also has noticed that Sunshine Cafe has seen more guests from out of town rather than its usual local clientele.
“We’ve got a core group of local folks that we keep in touch with, but there’s still I think a lot of people in Summit County that just are still sheltering in place or at least limiting their time out,” Spry said. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of folks that we usually see a lot more often that have decided to just stay home.”
As summer comes to an end, Spry said service industry professionals like him are banking on a decent fall.
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