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Seasonal sales had slow start

Ryan Graff

Holiday sales are up for many Glenwood Springs retailers, but not as much as they could be. “We’re having a good December,” said Terry Kates, owner of West Wind in the Glenwood Spring Mall. “We’re ahead of last year, not by much, but we’re ahead.”Retailers, from Red Mountain Books in the mall to The Dark Room downtown, agreed. But they weren’t ready to call the holiday shopping season a success just yet though. “You just really never know until you close your doors on Christmas Eve,” said Sharron Graves, owner of Through the Looking Glass bookstore downtown. Business for Graves is about even with last year, but she could be doing better – or worse – than last year if the beginning of the season had shaped up differently. Everything affects Graves’ holiday business, from snow and cold weather to the day kids finish school for winter break. For Graves, the snow, bad roads and cold this month probably kept people from making their way to her store. “It’s kind of a slow start,” she said, but “things have just been growing.”Though Graves seemed to have a grudge with it, the weather seemed to help another business – Summit Canyon Mountaineering.”Having the snow helped early,” said Jon Zalinski, vice president of Summit Canyon. Autumnal 60 degree temperatures on Thanksgiving Day changing to a snowy, cold winter the day after helped get people excited for one of Summit Canyon’s two spikes during the year – ski season. As for holiday sales, “we’re hitting our projections,” Zalinski said. “Hopefully it’ll keep going.”In addition to seasonal changes, changes in the local business environment also affect sales. Mall retailers noticed a dip in sales and general traffic after Super Wal-Mart opened in Rifle last fall, which resulted in slightly lower sales numbers last year.”When you open a big shopping center like that, it takes a piece of the pie,” said Kates. If local business changes weren’t enough for retailers, they’ve also got bitter-sweet memories of the late 1990s. “(Business) is a little better than last year,” said Tom Weir, owner of The Candle Stick Maker in downtown Glenwood. But it’s “nowhere near our great years.””Except for last year, I haven’t come close to any of our previous years,” he said, remembering the very lucrative years from 1995 to 1999. “(Business) is a touch better than last year,” said Dona Rowe, a sales person at Dragon’s Boot & Shoe. “It’s picking up to the point almost where it used to be,” she said. Few enterprises reported a decrease in business. “In general it’s kind of a slower start,” said Larry Gruber, owner of Glenwood Music. “It seems a little sleepy this year,” he said, but mentioned that he changed from a Grand Avenue location to a store at Seventh and Cooper, which may have affected his sales. By and large, however, business seemed to be just a bit better than last for most, with 10 shopping days left until Christmas, but there are no guarantees until Dec. 25.”Up to right now, we’re doing well,” said David Wood, owner of Red Mountain Books. Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 520rgraff@postindependent.com


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