Veteran's Day & Thanksgiving Weekend-- Business Wrap-Up
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 30, 2009
CONTACT: Siiri Grubb, 603-356-5701, firstname.lastname@example.org
Storms on Black Friday Flooded Area Businesses with Holiday Shoppers Looking for Must-Have Deals
Rain didn't effect most shoppers as Thanksgiving Weekend business remained fairly positive in Mt Washington Valley, NH
North Conway, NH (November 30, 2009): A survey of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce (MWVCC) membership comparing Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving Weekend 2009 with 2008, revealed optimistic results for area businesses. The majority of businesses responding to the survey were fairly positive, despite the dismal weather soaking visitors on Black Friday. More than half of the survey respondents; 59 percent, claimed that business either stayed the same or increased over last year. "Our business was up significantly from the previous year. Although the economy is still tough, the press has been kind to us this year, not focusing on the "great depression" like they did last year. The panic last year has diminished and people are adjusting their life styles and spending more in line with their incomes. This realization has created new markets for our area, as people who might have travelled farther in the past have re-discovered "the valley". This group of tourists tend to spend more," commented Lynda Schuepp of The Penguin Gallery of NH.
According to the MWVCC survey distributed on Sunday, November 29, 68.8 percent of respondents stated that business during the 2009 Veterans Day was either up or stayed the same from last year, 25 percent of those respondents stated that business was increased from last year.
Traffic to Mt Washington Valley for Thanksgiving Weekend 2009 was reportedly up over last year, as Siiri Grubb, Communications Manager of the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce commented, "There was a steady stream of traffic heading into North Conway Village all day on Friday (November 27), and calls came in throughout the day with visitors looking for directions. The rain didn't seem to stop the shoppers as the sidewalks were dotted with umbrellas as visitors looked to take advantage of the best bargains of the holiday shopping season."
Shops and restaurants weren't the only businesses to report increases in sales this Thanksgiving Day weekend as lodging members who responded to the survey remained confident too. "Our guests stayed longer than last year. They came to find the best sales in stores," remarked Richard LeFave, owner Old Red Inn and Cottages. According to the survey, room occupancy for Thanksgiving Weekend 2009 was fairly positive for this traditional family holiday. 55.5 percent of respondents reported that room occupancies either stayed the same or increased over last year's holiday weekend, with 33 percent reporting that paying guests increased over last year. Mary Ann Mayer of the Mt Washington Bed & Breakfast reported an increase in international travelers, which she attributes to the favorable exchange rates in currency for those coming into the U.S.
Last minute calls for availabilities and Thanksgiving dinner offerings rang in to the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce's offices in the weeks and days leading up to Thanksgiving. "If the amount of inquiries was any indication of how busy the weekend was, then the Valley certainly had a successful holiday," said Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce Visitor Services personnel, Janet Durkee-Prescott.
When asked what changes respondents observed for Thanksgiving weekend 2009 vs. 2008, 50 percent said they welcomed more families and groups, where the amount of Canadian visitors remained about the same as last year. "The valley provides families with a good value vacation. Unique local businesses, inns and restaurants as well as nationally known chains provide something for all. People like the quaint town feeling and the friendliness of our businesses," commented Lynda Schuepp of The Penguin Gallery of NH.
In general, businesses seemed encouraged with the increased business that Thanksgiving Weekend brought, and attributed any downshift in business to the dismal weather. Michael Kline, who owns The Gallery at the Met, Salvatore Michaels Framed Art Superstore and Soyfire Candle commented, "Since sales at Framed Art have been way up for the last four months, actually beating the last two years, we have a hard time blaming anything but the weather for a slow Black Friday this year at the art store, where our displays as well as foot traffic are weather dependent. Soyfire was up almost 10% for all of Thanksgiving weekend." Additionally he commented, "Traffic was very heavy at the Met, where poor weather can help business, but down at Framed Art where poor weather is a hindrance."
Area business reported that increased marketing, discount offerings and new sales techniques has boosted sales in recent months. "Our midweek business has increased due to in house promotions. However, the economy and weather have played a part in the weekend business being down a bit. This is definitely not the time to be complacent. This past year has been a rollercoaster ride and it has been absolutely vital to make changes in operations quickly. Looking for dining trends, price points, and working closer with our vendors have made a difference in our profitability." said Terry O'Brien, owner of Red Parka Steakhouse and Pub.
After a largely successful Thanksgiving Weekend driven by tax-free holiday shopping, Mt Washington Valley businesses look forward to the typically busy holiday and winter season and from now through March. Looking at the future, based on advanced reservations, new events, special sales and packages and promotions developed, 50 percent of the survey respondents forecasted that sales will either increase or stay the same as last year. "Advance reservations are about the same, up very slightly, for December weekends compared to 2008," reported Susan Logan, Marketing and Events Manager for the Conway Scenic Railroad. Lodging properties also seemed to be optimistic for the upcoming months with some properties indicating an increase in December reservations over last year at this time. Yet, with the lack of snow and tight economy, businesses remain guarded. The largest majority predict that business will decrease over last year's winter season, and all concur that travelers will continue to look for the best values and money saving offers.
Generally, area businesses remain cautiously optimistic about the holiday shopping season. The Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce's Harvest to Holidays shopping promotion will continue to entice visitors to the Mt. Washington Valley with plenty of stay-and-play lodging packages for visiting shoppers, as business will hopefully remain steady from now until Christmas. Michael Kline, who owns The Gallery at the Met, Salvatore Michaels Framed Art Superstore and Soyfire Candle commented, "Business has been trending up thanks to working harder and general optimism of an economic recovery. Now if the snow gods cooperate, there's no reason the trend should change."
With the promise of snow and forecasted storms later in the week, Mt Washington Valley businesses look forward to a busy winter. The notches to the north, Pinkham and Crawford Notch, are already snow-covered as the storm on Black Friday granted them a dumping of 18-24 inches. Bretton Woods ski area is already open for the season with an amazing 15 trails open and Wildcat Mountain in Pinkham Notch is not far behind, projected to open this weekend. Other ski areas are hoping the ‘snow gods' will grace them as the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce readies itself with midweek ski packages great for visitors looking to save some money during their winter vacations.
For more information about these packages, vacation planning resources or on visiting Mt Washington Valley, visit www.Mtwashingtonvalley.org or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364).
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