‘Restaurant city’ shows continued tax growth
Glenwood Springs’ sales tax revenue was up 8.94 percent through May compared with 2014, a sign of the town’s continuing recovery from the Great Recession.
From 2011 until now, the January-May time frame has seen a steady increase in sales tax revenue. So far this year, each month through May has shown an increase from last year. City sales tax revenue this May was $1,281,239, up 6.1 percent from $1,207,348 in May 2014.
Glenwood still is not back to 2008’s level of $16,360,343. For the full year of 2014, sales tax revenue was $15,847,688.
In particular, 2011 demonstrates how low the economy dipped due during the recession: just $13,337,637 was collected in sales tax that year.
Glenwood’s restaurants are among the drivers of the city’s sales tax growth. For January-May 2011, the city’s share of receipts in that sector was $643,162, compared with $863,299 for the first five months of this year — a 34 percent increase. Over last year, restaurant tax revenue increased by 13 percent.
Mike Mercatoris, the founder of ZG Hospitality, a company that oversees Zheng Asian Bistro, the Riviera and Grind, said the numbers in all his restaurants are going up.
“Glenwood’s really becoming known as a dining restaurant city,” Mercatoris said.
In particular, the relocation for Grind to 701 Grand has been advantageous. Mercatoris said that it’s a nice corner stop and that the design and build out works really well.
“We’ve always wanted it to be the corner family pub,” Mercatoris said.
Glenwood Mayor Michael Gamba said he agrees that Glenwood has become a restaurant destination.
“One of the best things we’ve done is improve Seventh Street. It’s created a lot of excitement,” Gamba said. An outdoor dining strip and other improvements driven by the Downtown Development Association were completed last year.
Gamba said that he had dinner in Aspen three to four weeks ago and heard from people that Glenwood is the place to eat at night. Whenever he drives by Seventh Street and the row of restaurants there, it’s busy, he added.
Overall, “I think we’re definitely seeing a rebound in the economy since 2011,” Gamba said. “We should exceed our 2008 numbers.”
He added that he wants the business community to know that City Council is interested in enhancing success for any business, whether it’s a new business coming into town or one that’s looking to expand.
“Our economy in Glenwood seems to be improving compared to our neighbors,” Gamba said. “As the economy improves, the inhabitants have more money to spend.”
Additionally, Gamba said, as the state economy improves, that means more tourist dollars, especially from the Front Range.
Among the sectors included in the monthly sales tax report, furniture and home furnishings continued to be strong, growing nearly 20 percent from 2014 for the first five months of this year. Automotive and auto service sales grew 17 percent, and building materials and supplies were up 12 percent. The accommodations tax was up 14 percent.
The city’s two biggest categories, while they showed smaller percentage increases, also showed growth. General merchandise stores, which account for nearly 18 percent of the city’s sales tax revenue, contributed $1.062 million in January, up 2.6 percent. Food stores were up 7 percent from 2014, accounting for $802,319 in tax revenue.
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