Glenwood Springs sales stayed strong heading into fall season
All Glenwood Canyon Brewpub Manager Corrie Murray has to do is look out the front window to see that there’s been an increase in drive-by traffic since early September.
That’s when Glenwood Springs city officials decided to reopen the newly refurbished two-block stretch of Seventh Street to traffic. Judging by the latest sales tax figures, that might have played a part in keeping Glenwood on the plus side in terms of business activity.
“We had a good summer, but it still didn’t feel like we saw quite the impact we anticipated with the bridge completion,” Murray said of the first full year without construction directly related to the Grand Avenue Bridge replacement.
However, the city’s ongoing work to turn the section of Seventh from Cooper west to Colorado Avenue into a more pedestrian-oriented “festival street” did continue to impact downtown businesses, Murray observed.
“We picked up in mid-September and had a really good fall,” she said. “We definitely appreciate that Seventh Street is open, and think it’s important to businesses down here to have that street open as a byway.”
And, “there’s a really nice vibe going on under the bridge, which seems to have drawn tourism to that direct area.”
According to the city’s September sales tax report, overall, sales were up 4.98% for the month of September. That kept Glenwood Springs on pace for a +5% year in terms of spending on retail goods and taxable services.
Broken down by sector, two categories are down still compared to last year — general merchandise (-0.44%) and miscellaneous retail (-1.28%), according to the report.
General merchandise includes large national retailers, such as Target and Walmart, while miscellaneous retail encompasses a lot of the small, independent shops in Glenwood Springs, including liquor stores, flower shops, jewelry stores and gift shops.
But the restaurant and bar category continues to perform better than last year — up 2.2% compared to the first nine months of 2018. The city’s lodging sector, based on sales tax receipts, is also is up nearly 6% compared to last year.
Another sector that’s worth noting in terms of an ongoing trend is what’s referred to as the “all other” category in the city’s monthly report. That’s where online sales to Glenwood Springs residents from retailers that don’t have a physical location here have begun reporting their sales taxes, according to Glenwood Springs Chief Financial Officer Steve Boyd.
Though the overall numbers are still relatively small by comparison — $144,895 in sales taxes collected through September — the category is up more than 45% compared to last year, according to the latest figures.
5.08% — Year-to-date increase in sales tax collections for the city through September compared to 2018.
4.98% — Year-over-year city sales tax increase for the month of September.
$14.17 million — Sales tax dollars collected for the city through September, representing roughly $383 million in spending on retail items and taxable services.
-0.44% — Decline in spending on general merchandise items in Glenwood year to date through September, compared to 2018.
32.3% —Increase in spending at stores specializing in apparel and accessories year to date through September, compared to 2018.
$54.7 million — Amount of money spent at Glenwood eating and drinking establishments through nine months of the year, based on the $2,025,165 in sales taxes collected.
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