Businesses report Christmas sales stayed about even from last year
The 2004 holiday season treated Garfield County retailers about the same as it did last year – with a few surprises.”We’re probably right around the same as last year,” said Heidi Rung, manager of Anderson’s Clothing in Glenwood Springs. Anderson’s had a last-minute rush but ended up just about even with last year, as many retailers did. A notable exception was the Rock’n Star Ranch Co. in Glenwood Springs. The company started 2004 with big changes to its inventory, said E. Wayne Starr, who bought the store (formerly Bill Bullocks) with his family in the fall of 2003. The Starrs started stocking more high-end home furnishings, original art, books and boots, and doubled its hat inventory. The expansion led to a 300 percent increase in the value of inventory, Starr said. Though Starr has owned the store a relatively short time, he said he knew that this holiday season was the best the store has had in many years. In fact, Dec. 22 was the best day Rock’n Star Ranch has had since the Starrs took over. Book stores also were strong. Red Mountain Books in Glenwood Springs and Novel-Tea Bookstore in Carbondale both had very strong holiday seasons.”We were up. It was a real positive Christmas season,” said David Wood, owner of Red Mountain Books. “I felt pretty unprepared this year, it was definitely way beyond my expectations for Christmastime,” said Novel-Tea owner Wendy Anderson. Anderson attributed her success this holiday season to gift certificates and the fact that all kinds of people enjoy books, so they are a guaranteed good-buy at the last-minute.Some retailers downvalley also had a good Christmas season. “We did have a good Christmas season this year,” said Tonice McAnally, manager of A&D Pawn in Rifle. This holiday season was actually one of the best for A&D pawn in recent years. “I would say December is the first time people really came back since 9/11,” McAnally said. Rifle and Glenwood Springs’ biggest retailer, Wal-Mart, doesn’t comment on individual store performance. One business that saw a clear decline this holiday season was BSR Sports. BSR’s holiday business was down about 5 percent from last year, said owner Debbie Katers. But those number are part of a larger trend at BSR, a skateboard, bike and watersports store. Since 2001, BSR has faced competition from chain stores in Glenwood Springs and construction near its store on Seventh Street, which has led to a 20 percent decline in business some years, Katers said. Though BSR was only down 5 percent for December compared to last, “last December stunk,” she said. Compared to the year-to-date numbers however, losing 5 percent isn’t all bad. On Tuesday, BSR’s revenues were down 19 percent year-to-date from last year. BSR is coping with a steep drop in business by reducing its inventory, carrying “core products” and moving in to one section of its current building. Thankfully, Katers said, BSR owns the building and isn’t paying any rent.
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