June sales tax reports show the county is faring better than it did in 2019, 2020 | SummitDaily.com

June sales tax reports show the county is faring better than it did in 2019, 2020

Breckenridge, Silverthorne show strongest numbers for June

The Bakers’ Brewery in Silverthorne uses its Buzzbird Belgian Wheat to make beer-battered fish and chips. Silverthorne reported a strong sales tax report, and its food and liquor category is one that shows a healthy increase.
Photo from The Bakers’ Brewery

The coronavirus pandemic’s impact on Summit County is still being felt by local businesses, as evidence of supply chain issues and severe labor shortages, but there is a silver lining: All the towns in addition to the county are reporting strong sales tax collections compared to 2019, as well as 2020.

While Breckenridge reported the biggest swing — its sales tax collections are up about 40% when comparing June 2019 and 2021 — Silverthorne seems to be making a particularly strong comeback, especially considering the town’s new developments in the last two years.

According to its June sales tax report, year-to-date sales tax collections amounted to over $7.1 million, and sales tax collections were over $5.8 million in 2019 for the same period. That’s about a 23% increase in two years.

This past June’s sales tax collections amounted to over $1.5 million for Silverthorne. In 2019 for the same month, sales tax collections were nearly $1.2 million, a 30% swing.

The town breaks down its report into various categories to see which had the biggest collections and differences compared to past years. Its online retail category had one of the biggest differences when comparing 2021 to 2019 — this category had alone had about an 151% swing.

Its food and liquor category also had a healthy swing when comparing 2021 and 2019. The category’s sales tax collections are up about 19% — local businesses such as Red Buffalo Coffee & Tea and Timberline Craft Kitchen & Cocktails are seeing this activity firsthand.

“Since COVID, I’ve been closing three hours earlier than pre-COVID and even closing three hours early — (which) is partially for staffing and also for mental health of the staff I do have, I maintain being closed at 3 p.m. instead of at 6 p.m. — and my numbers are still as high, if not better than, without those three hours if I was still open,” said Erin Young, owner of Red Buffalo.

Young said she expects July to show even stronger reports, not only because that’s typically when the county’s summer season is in full swing, but also because of the travelers who are detouring due to the Glenwood Canyon closures.

Tanecia Spagnolia, owner of Timberline Craft Kitchen & Cocktails, said she also typically gets a strong clientele mix. For her, this summer felt like normal operations, especially in July.

“(We get) a lot of tourists, a lot of second-home owners from Denver have been out and about, and we’ve had a really busy July and everybody was in good spirits about getting vaccinated and things getting back to normal,” Spagnolia said.

Additionally, Young notes that Silverthorne has seen significant growth in the past two years. Specifically, she pointed to the new Smith Ranch neighborhood, as well as local businesses like Enza’s Delicatessen & Market, Just Send It and Gore Range Sports — all of which have opened up near Red Buffalo. Bluebird Market is also set to open later this fall, and it will act as a catalyst for a few new local businesses too.

Silverthorne’s growth can also be found in Land Title Guarantee Company’s market analysis each month. The town is close behind Breckenridge when it comes to the percent of total real estate transactions. It’s also below the average residential price per square feet. According to Land Title’s June report, the average for the county is $679 and Silverthorne’s average is $562, making it a slightly more reasonable area of the county to live, especially for those who want to make the county a permanent residence and get away from the busyness of Breckenridge.

Spagnolia noted that Timberline is one of these businesses that opened up between 2019 and 2021. The restaurant opened in November 2019, just months before the onset of the pandemic. Still, though not the best comparison, Spagnolia said the restaurant is faring much better than it did last summer, and that even last summer didn’t hurt operations too much.

“We were able to expand our patio,” she said. “So originally, our patio had plans for about 25 seats and we were able to extend it and double it so we had about 50 seats. So with that, having that large outdoor space really helped in the summer of 2020, so we had a decently strong summer with the patio and then a lot of takeout orders.”

According to Silverthorne’s June sales tax report, building retail is one of the categories that reported strong numbers, too. From 2019 to 2021, this category had about a 40% swing. Spagnolia said she’s not surprised that Silverthorne is becoming a major player in the county, especially as more homes are built in and near town limits.

“There’s more and more homes, new condos, townhouses and that trajectory is going to keep going in the next three to five years so I think we’ll continue to see strong growth in Silverthorne as more residential places are being built,” Spagnolia said. “I think that plays a big factor into it.”

The only one of Silverthorne’s categories still lagging behind is its outlets category. In 2019, sales tax collections for June were $223,289 and collections amounted to $202,630 in 2021 for the same month, down about 9%.

The county’s other towns are also doing well compared to 2019. Dillon’s report showed that year to date, the town’s sales tax collections are up about 16% compared to 2019 for the same time frame. Frisco’s collections are up about 22% when comparing June 2019 and 2021.

The county’s report doesn’t have numbers for 2019, but when comparing June 2020 and 2021, its sales tax collections are up about 63%.

Sales tax collections for the four major Summit County towns in the first half of 2021 show the county is making a rebound from the economic hardships of the coronavirus pandemic.
Graphic by Jenna deJong

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