City sales taxes continue to rebound
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Local merchants remain “cautiously optimistic” amid the busy holiday shopping season, as city of Glenwood Springs retail sales showed continued improvement through October compared to last year’s numbers.
The latest sales tax report issued by city finance officials this week indicates October sales were up 2.69 percent compared to October 2010.
City sales taxes totaled $1,052,228 for the month, based on the preliminary numbers which were still being adjusted. That’s up from $1,024,626 for October 2010.
For the year to date, sales taxes are up 1.75 percent over last year. Sales in 2011 continue to outpace monthly figures for both 2009 and 2010, a trend that began in June.
The numbers bode well for a strong finish to the year. However, retail sales remain behind the city’s pre-recession numbers from 2007 and the first 10 months of 2008.
The city will release November numbers in early January, while the December and preliminary year-end numbers are reported in February.
“People do have a sense that things are getting better,” said Carl Moak, owner of Summit Canyon Mountaineering and a board member for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.
“It’s not at 2007 levels, but there is a much more positive attitude out there,” he said.
Moak said sales at his store have actually been trending ahead of the city’s numbers since April.
“We’ve had a decent start to the holiday season,” he also said, adding that the busiest holiday shopping usually kicks in by next week.
“It has been a good year,” added Erin Zalinski, co-owner of the TreadZ shoe and clothing store, which relocated in March to a higher-profile and much larger space in the remodeled 812 Grand Ave. building in downtown Glenwood Springs.
The new location has given the store more exposure, she said.
“But it still feels like we need to work really hard to keep things going, and keep people remembering us,” Zalinski said. “It’s not exactly cruising on momentum yet.”
That’s the general feeling she gets from other retailers around town, as well.
“Everyone seems to be doing pretty well, but I think people remain cautiously optimistic and are keeping pretty close to their vest,” she said.
Glenwood Springs tourism numbers also remained strong through October, based on the city’s accommodations (lodging) tax report, as well as the latest lodging occupancy report.
The 2.5 percent lodging tax, which funds the city’s tourism promotion efforts, came in at $48,555 for October, 8.5 percent over the same month last year. Year-to-date through 10 months, the lodging tax is running 7.8 percent ahead of last year.
“That seems to be one of the things that’s driving the increase in sales tax also,” Moak observed.
Glenwood Springs lodges that are included in the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report also indicated occupancy was up 6.2 percent in October, compared to the same month last year. For the year, room occupancy is up 3.87 percent compared to 2010.
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Images of mud and debris slides on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon near Bair Ranch (MM129) taken on Wednesday, Aug 4.