Mt Washington Valley businesses report strong start to holiday season
They came, they shopped, they skied and they stayed!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 11-29-11
CONTACT: Marti Mayne, PR Manager, MWVCC, 207-846-6331
BUSINESSES REPORT BRISK SALES OVER THANKSGIVING WEEKEND IN MT WASHINGTON VALLEY
They came, they shopped, they skied and stayed
North Conway, NH (11-29-11) – Most businesses responding to an informal survey from the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce reported brisk sales over the Thanksgiving weekend. Mother Nature started the Thanksgiving holiday with more than a foot of snow, putting shoppers in the holiday mood and skiers ready to go! Retailers, lodging properties, ski and XC resorts were all ready with sales and trails to kick off the holiday season in Mt Washington Valley.
The outlets at Settler’s Green opened Thanksgiving evening, kicking off Black Friday a little earlier this year. According to Dot Seybold, General Manager, “We were very busy from 10 pm until about 2 am, then quiet until 6 in the morning when shoppers returned.” As of noon on Black Friday, Settlers’ Green was packed again with no parking spaces left and shoppers parking on roads. After the Thanksgiving weekend ended, Seybold added “We are happy to report that many stores had their best Thanksgiving weekend ever. The snow really helped put people in the mood to shop for Christmas”.
Shopping in North Conway Village got a slightly later start on Black Friday. After the weekend was over, Matt Fusco at The Rugged Mill in North Conway shared that there were not many shoppers until about 10am on Black Friday, then the crowds built throughout the afternoon and remained steady through 6pm. Matt shared that sales were up 35-percent over last year on Black Friday. Rugged Mill ended the Thanksgiving weekend with an overall sales gain of 17-percent over last year. Lynda Schuepp, owner of The Penguin Gift Gallery shared that the number of sales was up ten-percent over last year. Deborah Jasien, owner and crafter of Fields of Ambrosia: BATH, BODY & HOME, reported that the store broke all past sales numbers for Black Friday and every other day of the year making Black Friday the best sales day of the year. “We opened at our normal time on Black Friday - 9am and we did not stop until 5pm,” said Jasien.
Attitash, Cranmore and Great Glen Trails were able to open for the weekend, offering skiing for all those anxious to get out on the trails. Attitash Mountain Resort opened for lift-serviced skiing and riding on Friday and Saturday and the Nor’Easter Mountain Coaster was open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While the mountain featured mostly advanced/expert terrain Thomas Prindle, Marketing Director, reported there were about 750 visitors over the two days that either enjoyed skiing or admired the trails from the base area as they were in line to ride the Nor’Easter Mountain Coaster. Attitash has since closed and at this time, a tentative re-opening date is Saturday, December 3 for Attitash Mountain Resort and Friday, December 9 for Wildcat Mountain, according to Prindle. Kathy Bennett, Director of Marketing at Cranmore, weighed in reporting a strong Thanksgiving weekend thanks to top to bottom skiing for the second Thanksgiving in a row. According to Bennett Cranmore season pass sales were up 20 percent over last year, the mountain adventure park also saw brisk business over the Thanksgiving weekend and overall revenue for the three- day Thanksgiving weekend was up 20 percent.
Lodging properties also sent back enthusiastic responses when asked about the Thanksgiving weekend 2011 compared to 2010. Bill Petrone, co-owner and innkeeper at the Buttonwood Inn reported that business was up slightly over last year due to guests taking advantage of Polar Express packages and also longer stays this year. Freddie Procyk owner/manager at Cranmore Mountain Lodge, told the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce that reservations were up 25-percent over last year. She observed that more Canadian travelers visited the Valley this year, and that the foot of snow which fell just prior to Thanksgiving had no impact on travelers’ plans. Charlene Brown, co-owner of Farm by the River B&B and Stables reported that this year was the best year for both the inn and the stables in the last four Thanksgiving weekends.
As travelers to the Valley shopped and skied, they also worked up an appetite. We heard from Charlie Mallar, co-owner of The 1785 Inn & Restaurant that weekend sales were up in the restaurant over last year and that customers seemed to be more optimistic about the economy this year. Terry O’Brien at Red Parka Steakhouse and Pub reported that business was slower than normal on Wednesday before Thanksgiving due to the storm, but came back strong on Friday. According to O’Brien, “We were up in sales both Fri day and Saturday nights due to lots of ski Club people and shoppers. Everyone seemed excited about the snow and the upcoming ski season”. Rafferty’s Restaurant and Pub served their first-ever free Thanksgiving dinner to more than 70 people. According to Linda Rafferty sales for the restaurant and pub were up over last year due to more families and larger groups. Rafferty concurred with Charlie Mallar observing that guests are hoping to move past tougher times. Exceptions to the rule came from Elvio from Elvio’s Pizza who observed sales were down for the weekend, perhaps due to people focusing more on shopping than eating. Additionally Don Bilger from the Shovel Handle Pub observed that while room reservations were up at the Inn at Jackson and Whitney’s Inn, restaurant sales at the Shovel Handle Pub didn’t see the same increase.
Overall, Mt Washington Valley businesses reported enthusiasm among shoppers, skiers and guests for the upcoming holiday and ski seasons. For more information on planning an upcoming visit to Mt Washington Valley, please visit www.mtwashingtonvalley.org, including a complete up-to-date calendar of events. To talk with a vacation planning specialist, call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3361).
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Photo caption: Skiers wait in line for lifts to open at Attitash Mountain Resort on Friday, November 25. Photo by Laura Tuveson.
For more information on planning your New Hampshire vacation, go to www.visitnh.com