Mt Washington Valley businesses report record sales over Thanksgiving weekend
Good news from Mt Washington Valley, NH – November 30, 2015
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-650-1741 or PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
MT WASHINGTON VALLEY RETAILERS SET RECORDS WITH THANKSGIVING WEEKEND SALES
Ski resorts, lodging, dining establishments report strong sales over the holiday weekend too
North Conway, NH – Weather, consumer confidence and a four-day holiday all aligned to support a strong Thanksgiving weekend in Mt Washington Valley, NH, according to those responding to the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce’s informal survey of members. Clearly visitors were shopping both “big” and “small”, according to retailers who all reported traffic and sales above last year. With three ski resorts open, offering the only skiing in New Hampshire, plus ideal days for outdoor fun and shopping, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend resulted in breaking records and sales increases for businesses who reported to the survey.
“Last year we faced a blizzard over the Thanksgiving weekend forcing cancellations,” noted Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “This year, sunny skies met strong traveler and consumer confidence, and the result was outstanding for Mt Washington Valley,” finished Crawford.
The chamber heard from many retailers in North Conway Village, promoting Plaid Friday and Small Business Saturday to convince shoppers to “shop small”. And that’s what shoppers did. Daren Levitt, owner of Toy Chest in North Conway Village, shared that the store recorded its best Black Friday and Small Business Saturday ever. According to Levitt, the foot traffic and sales were extraordinary and the store set new sales records for both days as the best two days of sales ever. Levitt credited the good weather, “perfect for shopping”, loyal customers and his excellent pricing for strong sales this year. Additionally, he noted that the store’s support and many customers’ support of the Angels and Elves program contributed to a strong holiday weekend for the Toy Chest.
Similarly, Amber Dalton, owner of Spruce Hurricane in North Conway Village, reported an increase in Black Friday sales. According to Dalton, “typically Black Friday is not as important to us because shoppers tend to be bargain hunting in the major retailers. This year our Friday and Saturday were practically even and Sunday finished strong as well. We promoted supporting Small Business Saturday and our customers made mention of the importance of shopping small and local.”
Laura Cummings, owner of White Birch Books, told the chamber that the bookstore had a very good weekend noting also that the weather was ideal for shopping. A strong promoter of the Plaid Friday alternative to Black Friday, Cummings shared, “We got several comments from people who really liked the plaid idea and that day, combined with Small Business Saturday, really points out the whole Shift Your Shopping concept.”
Timothy W. Psaledakis, of Jewelry by Timothy W. Psaledakis & Friends, also reported in that shoppers were in force throughout North Conway Village, and shared that this year was up over last for the holiday season. Also reporting in from North Conway Village, Matt Fusco, owner of The Rugged Mill, told the chamber that Friday through Sunday sales were up 24-percent and traffic was up overall. According to Fusco, “In our estimation there were more total shoppers willing to spend but they were looking for bargains and spending their dollars wisely."
Reporting in from the other end of the shopping strip, Dot Seybold, GM of Settlers Green, told the chamber that people were also shopping in the larger stores and malls too. Dot shared that the entire month of November has been a terrific boost for the year. The two Bring A Friend Weekends were close to the best ever at Settlers Green. Additionally, word from Seybold was that Settlers Green welcomed heavy crowds. Some stores had lines starting at 5:00am. “Those stores that chose to open on Thanksgiving Day said there was traffic and people shopping, but nothing crazy,” shared Seybold.
Those not shopping also enjoyed time on the ski slopes. Bretton Woods, Wildcat Mountain and Cranmore Mountain Resort were all open for the Thanksgiving weekend, offering the only skiing in New Hampshire. While last year’s Thanksgiving blizzard brought skiers with pent up energy, this year’s snowmaking efforts at the resorts meant early season skiers were treated with top to bottom skiing in multiple ski resorts in Mt Washington Valley.
"Wildcat was once again pleased to offer 2,100 vertical feet of top to bottom skiing/riding for our pass holders and many area visitors over the holiday weekend. The slopes were crowded with happy guests enjoying the early season alpine thrills," shared John Lowell, President of Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain.
Becca Deschenes, Director of Marketing at Cranmore Mountain Resort, explained that the mountain was open Friday through Sunday, offering tubing in addition on Friday and Saturday. “Despite a warmer than expected November, we are excited to meet our opening goal of Thanksgiving weekend. We really owe it to our snowmaking team and continued snowmaking upgrades,” said Cranmore President and GM, Ben Wilcox. “Our system and our team’s aggressive approach has made a Thanksgiving opening a tradition that we can count on.” And according to Deschenes, Cranmore’s well attended Homecoming event on Saturday featured a sold out premiere of Warren Miller’s Chasing Shadows and raised $2,110 from the trail sign auction which goes directly to the Jimmy Mersereau Scholarship Foundation which was founded in 2009, in honor of the passing of Cranmore’s long time Mountain Operations Director, Jimmy Mersereau.
And for non-skiers, Northeast Snowmobile and ATV Rentals offered the perfect entertainment for many Valley visitors. Terry MacGillivray, owner, shared “We started the weekend with only one reservation and ended up with 23 Side by Side Rentals in Gorham NH, at our new location on Main Street. I think the warm weather helped. Most of the customers came up from the valley.”
And the Conway Scenic RR also offered non-shoppers and skiers another option for entertainment. Susan Logan, Director of Marketing and Events at Conway Scenic RR said “Conway Scenic had an excellent holiday weekend, up 12-percent overall over the same weekend last year. Once again, Saturday was our strongest ridership day, with the first two out of three trains sold out. Both Friday and Sunday showed significant increases over 2014. The weather was beautiful, and there were lots of people in town, a great combination for the Railroad.”
Lodging members reported to the chamber’s survey with enthusiasm too. Jon Sallinen General Manager Red Jacket Mountain View and Fox Ridge Resorts said “2015 offered an excellent Thanksgiving Weekend, which begun with a record crowd for Thanksgiving dinner.” He also noted the 2nd annual Old Fashion Christmas was a terrific success, sharing that “Frank Guerriero was instrumental in the success and the entire town should be proud of what the tree lighting has transformed into.”
Steve Lambert, innkeeper and co-owner of the Bernerhof Inn reported the inn was sold out for four nights in a row, with guests staying at least three nights, resulting in a 16-percent sales increase. Similarly, Christopher Bellis, co-owner of the Cranmore Inn reported a 20-percent increase over last year for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Bobby Barker and Tim Ostendorf, co-owners at the Inn at Crystal Lake & Palmer House Pub, fully embraced the Shop Small message. Bobby shared, “Everything was in place for a great weekend. We added the American Express Shop Small to the mix and had terrific results filling out the entire weekend and not just Saturday.” Tim adopted the slogan “Go Big and Shop Small” for the weekend.
The chamber heard from Terry O’Brien, Owner and General Manager of the Red Parka Pub & Steakhouse that the restaurant experienced a “terrific” holiday weekend. According to O’Brien, “Thanksgiving week was awesome! Sales were up all week, guest counts were up and the staff is smiling! “ She shared there were plenty of shoppers there as well as families.
Mt Washington Valley’s retailers, lodging and dining businesses are well poised for a very successful holiday season. With snowmaking underway at both Alpine and Nordic Centers, skiers will be treated to a great early season in the Valley. Visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org for complete vacation planning resources or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364) for advice from vacation concierge standing by at Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to www.VisitNH.gov.
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Photo: Black Friday shoppers at Settlers Green. Photo provided by Settlers Green Outlet Village.