Glenwood retail sales stay strong through mid-year
A cold, snowy winter helped make for some hot sales returns through early summer, according to one Glenwood Springs business owner.
“We’re having the best year we’ve ever had by a pretty nice margin, for sure,” said John Lindsey, owner of Big John’s Ace Hardware in south Glenwood.
He can trace that back to the second month of the year.
“Last February (2018), we sold eight 40-pound bags of ice melt,” Lindsey said of the rather mild winter.
“This year, I sold 98 in a day,” he said.
Lindsey was one beneficiary of a 7.75% increase in the building materials and supplies category that’s reflected in the city of Glenwood Springs mid-year sales tax report that was released last week.
That category also includes the major home improvement store in Glenwood, Lowe’s, which serves as one of the main anchors at the Glenwood Meadows shopping center.
Overall, through June, city sales taxes were up 4.68% year over year compared to the first six months of 2018, according to the report.
Based on the city’s general sales tax rate of 3.7%, the nearly $8.9 million in sales taxes generated equates to $239.7 million in taxable sales within Glenwood Springs city limits through the first six months of 2019.
“It feels really positive so far,” said Lindsey, adding that business seems to be up citywide despite disruptions associated with the ongoing construction projects, including the 27th Street Bridge replacement.
“I think everybody is wanting the construction to be over, but we all understand what it’s about,” he said.
While sales were down 2% through June for general merchandise stores — the largest retail sector for Glenwood that includes national retailers such as Target and Walmart — most other categories were up, according to the mid-year report.
- As mentioned, building materials and supplies — 7.75%
- Restaurants and bars — 4.54%
- Food stores — 6.87%
- Motel/Hotel — 4.78%
- Special accommodations (lodging) tax — 6.45%
- Automotive parts/service stations — 2.34%
- Apparel/accessories — 28.9%
- Furniture/home furnishings — 19.58%
The large numbers in the latter two categories likely are attributed to the March opening of the new Marshall’s clothing store at Glenwood Meadows, and, respectively, the closeout sales at American Furniture Warehouse before the Denver-based chain closed its Glenwood Springs store in May.
For June alone, the furniture/home furnishings category was down 38.5% compared to June 2018.
Also, food store sales, though up for the year through mid-year, were flat in May and down 1.8% for the month of June following the closure of the Glenwood Safeway store.
Helping to boost retail and restaurant activity through June and into the height of summer has been a strong tourist season, said Lisa Langer, director of tourism promotion for the city and Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.
“I have heard from a lot of the restaurants that they are doing really well, and are feeling like it was a great summer,” she said.
Tourism attractions noticed the larger numbers, as well. Langer said the Iron Mountain Hot Springs had to turn people away on some of its busiest days due to capacity.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park broke its record for daily visitors on back-to-back days the Friday and Saturday after the Fourth of July holiday, said Nancy Heard, general manager for the park.
The number of visitors exceeded 3,000 on those days, and another big weekend was expected over the long Labor Day weekend that just concluded, Heard said before the weekend.
One reason the Caverns Adventure Park has seen bigger numbers this year is the opening of the new, higher-capacity Glenwood Gondola, which provides access to the mountaintop park. The new gondola opened in March.
“Nobody is waiting at the bottom like they used to with the old gondola,” Heard said. “And, it can withstand the winds better, so we don’t have the weather shutdowns. … We only used our backup ground transportation on a very limited basis this year.”
In July, Glenwood Springs lodges that report to the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association’s Rocky Mountain Lodging Report were nearly 88 occupied, according to the latest report.
Year to date through seven months, Glenwood lodges had an average occupancy rate of 66.4% — up more than 2 percentage points over the same period last year.
The average daily room rate in Glenwood for July was $173.71, and for the year to date has averaged $143.08, according to the lodging report.
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