June sales signaled strong start to tourist season
Glenwood Springs’ June sales tax numbers show a strong beginning to the summer tourist season that included more people staying and eating out in town.
June alone saw a near 8 percent increase in sales over the same month in 2014.
Through half of 2015, retail sales are up 9 percent compared with last year, according to the city’s June sales tax report released Wednesday.
Year to date through six months, the city has collected just over $7.6 million in sales taxes on $207.5 million in retail sales.
Among the biggest gains were in the restaurants and bars sector, which saw a nearly 12.2 percent increase in activity through June compared with the same period last year.
“It’s definitely been a busy summer, extremely hectic, but nice and busy,” said Cece Zumwinkle, owner with her husband, David, of Juicy Lucy’s Steakhouse on Seventh Street.
“If I had anything to complain about it’s that it has been hard to find enough employees,” she said.
Juicy Lucy’s was among the eateries along Glenwood’s “restaurant row” that added sidewalk patio dining at the start of last summer, which Zumwinkle said has contributed to the increase in sales.
“Overall, though, I would attribute it to an increase in tourists in Glenwood this summer,” she said. “Everything has just seemed busier to me.”
That appears to be supported by local lodging statistics as well into the summer months.
In June, collections from the city’s special 2.5 percent lodging tax were up a little more than 11 percent, and through mid-year are up 13.2 percent. Regular sales taxes collected on overnight stays in Glenwood Springs are up 14.2 percent through June.
Likewise, the latest Rocky Mountain Lodging Report, which shows hotel and motel room occupancy and average room rates through July, suggests Glenwood Springs is holding its own against other popular summer destinations in Colorado.
July room occupancy in Glenwood, on average, was 88.4 percent. That was 4 percent above the average room occupancy for the category that includes Durango, Grand Junction, Estes Park, Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley.
The average daily room rate for July was $153 per night versus an average for that category of $151.
Lodging revenue per available room, which is also indicated in the report, was at $135.26 in Glenwood, compared with $127.34 for the category as a whole.
Meanwhile, the city’s mid-year sales tax report shows increases in every major retail category, including a 3.2 percent increase for general merchandise. That’s the largest single retail category for Glenwood, and includes the major national retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart.
Elsewhere, the category for automobile sales, servicing and parts is up more than 18.4 percent, sales of building materials and supplies is up 12.5 percent, food store sales are up more than 5.8 percent, and the miscellaneous retail category, which includes liquor stores and recreational marijuana sales, is up almost 5.2 percent from last year.
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.