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Breckenridge businesses rebound from the worst financial days of the pandemic

Town sales tax collections up more than 300% compared with April 2020, when businesses were closed

The town of Breckenridge's Walkable Main Street is pictured June 12, 2020, with tables set up outside of Gold Pan Saloon and Carboy Winery. Restaurants and bars are starting to see a boom in business again after months of restrictions.
Photo from Elaine Collins

Based on its April sales tax report, Breckenridge continues to make the biggest comeback out of all of the towns, mostly because it was hit the hardest by the pandemic due to its largely tourism-based economy.

Breckenridge saw the biggest jump in its sales tax collections in April compared with the same month in the previous year. According to the report, net taxable sales for the month were up 312% compared with April 2020, when businesses were largely shuttered.

According to a May 31 finance report, the town’s net taxable sales are ahead of last year by 31.7%.



The industries that performed the best in April compared with the same month in 2020 were retail, which was up 47%; short-term lodging, which was up 46%; marijuana sales, which was up 37%; and grocery and liquor, which was up 19%.

Restaurants and bars are still faring well: Compared with April 2020, the sales tax collected from these businesses was up 14%.



Trevor Gaughan, manager of BoLD Restaurant and Bar, has noticed the increase firsthand, saying business has been booming, especially as it compares to the years before the pandemic.

“The past couple of months, just comparing it to previous years, we would sometimes have to close hours earlier before our actual closing time just due to nobody coming in,” Gaughan said. “Two years ago, for example, we would close regularly at like 7 even though we were open until 9 p.m. just because we wouldn’t have the business to be open. So now it seems like even though we close at 9 p.m., we still have people coming through the door right before we close, so it’s not like we have to close early to try to conserve money. It’s quite the opposite.”

Michael Minarski, who recently sold Blue Moose Restaurant, said customers are coming to the restaurant in hordes and that the company’s numbers are “skyrocketing.”

“When you lock these people up for six months and then tell them they can go eat at their favorite restaurant, it’s like a fountain,” Minarski said.

The second best performing town for April sales tax collections was Frisco. The town’s sales tax report showed it was up 55% compared with April 2020. Since the beginning of the year, Frisco has reported steady increases: In January, the town’s sales tax was up nearly 10% compared with the previous year. In February, growth dipped to 8% before shooting up to 41.5% in March.

Frisco’s high-performing industries in April were its arts and crafts category, which includes businesses like the Frisco Art Collective and the Sunny Side Up Studio. This category showed a 528% increase in sales tax collections compared with April 2020, when businesses of this type were closed.

Other industries that performed well were Frisco’s recreation industry, which showed a 435% increase in April compared to last year in the same month. Its gifts category was also a high-performer, reporting a 277% increase.

Frisco industries that did not perform well in April were hotels and inns, which was in the red by 47%; health and beauty, which was in the red by 32%; and hotel improvements, which was in the red by 28%.

The town of Dillon is also on a slow but steady incline in collections. In January, Dillon reported that its sales tax collections were down 2%, but the town was up in February with a 2% increase, in March with a 16% increase and again in April with a 17% increase.

As for Silverthorne, the town is faring better than April 2019 by about 29%. In March, the town reported a 74% increase compared with the previous year but in April, that number came down slightly to 52%.

Some of Silverthorne’s industries also showed strong increases. Lodging was up by 1,783% and the outlets were up 1,029%.

The only industry that didn’t show an increase in April was the online retail sector. In March, the industry showed a 117% year-over-year increase but that number dropped into the red at 18% in April. Also in the red was the services industry, which was down 8%.

As for Summit County, its sales tax report showed strong numbers, too. The town’s sales tax collections were up 159% compared with last year in April, a considerable jump from the increase it reported in March, which was 78%.



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