Mt Washington Valley businesses post strong July 4 weekend
News from Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce – July 5, 2016
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, PR@Mtwashingtonvalley.org
MT WASHINGTON VALLEY BUSINESSES REPORT STRONG JULY 4TH WEEKEND
Weather and timing combine for positive reports for the summer’s first three-day weekend
North Conway, NH – All eyes were on the weather for the summer’s first three-day weekend this year as Mt Washington Valley business owners speculated on how the Independence Day holiday might compare to last year’s 250th celebration for the Town of Conway. Weather is always an important factor in vacation planning, and both the forecast and sunny days were on our side this year adding to a strong July 4th weekend for Mt Washington Valley businesses. Visitors came to the Valley to play and stay under sunny skies and starry nights according to an informal survey distributed by the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce.
When asked about the weekend, Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce commented, “Last year with the 250th celebration of the Town of Conway’s birthday being a record breaker for many businesses, we knew that all the right forces would need to combine to make this year equally successful.” Janice went on to finish, “The weather cooperated with sunny, warm days, which drew people to the Valley. We did a rough estimate of about 8,000 people on hand to watch the fireworks in Schouler Park and surrounding streets, and North Conway Village was hopping. The Fryeburg fireworks were well attended too, and many more people came out for the fireworks than the parades in both towns,” observed Crawford. “Staff at from the Conway Recreation, Police Department and Rescue did a great job of keeping a pleasant atmosphere and providing a sense of safety. We’d like to offer a big thank you to the sponsors Zeb’s General Store, RWN Property Management, Geico, Town of Conway, Mt Washington Radio Group and also Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, for the great entertainment, added Crawford. Everyone agreed that the fireworks display was awesome,” Crawford finished.
While most businesses except one did not report breaking revenue or traffic records this year, the majority of respondents weighed in to say that the July 4th weekend was equally as strong or even a little better than last year which was among the biggest July 4th holiday weekends the Valley had seen for many years.
The chamber heard from a number of attractions contacts that admissions and revenues were either even or slightly above last year for the July 4th weekend. Bob Tupper at White Lake Speedway, Inc told the chamber that overall for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday admissions, the Speedway was slightly “up” over last year, attributing to the change primarily to strategy changes at the park. Concurrently, Jack Mahaney told the chamber that Story Land’s attendance was also slightly over last year and that in-park spending is definitely up over last year. He also commented on the abundance of patriotism with many more guests wearing red, white and blue to celebrate the holiday this year.
Becca Deschenes, Director of Marketing for Cranmore Mountain Resort, said “We had a really strong weekend, and were even with last year”. Becca also commented that the Cranmore Adventure Park is ahead of last year for the summer-to-date, and expects a strong summer-long season.
Jonathan Rivers of Indian Mound Golf Club shared the enthusiasm saying “We were up over last year because of the golfing conditions and the weather - a great combination to the start of a great summer. The Ossipee area has so much to offer not only for golf but many recreation choices.”
And Susan Logan, Director of Marketing for the Conway Scenic Railroad, told the chamber that while exact figures were not yet available, she and others at the Railroad sensed that ridership on the train’s shuttle from Conway to Schouler Park for the fireworks was at least even if not up over last year, as many have discovered this convenience. She also commented that the weekend was very strong overall for the Conway Scenic Railroad.
Bucking the trend, Cathy Bedor, co-owner of the Mt Washington Cog Railway, weighed in telling the chamber it was a record breaking weekend. “What exciting weather our riders experienced on Mount Washington this weekend. Drama at the summit and a new museum at the base to learn why the Cog is unique. I am thrilled to say that Sunday was a record for the July 4th weekend,” said Cathy.
Bud Selmi, owner of Margarita Grill in Glen told us that the restaurant was significantly up over last year for the weekend by about 15 to 20-percent. He explained that with the holiday falling on a Monday, sales remained strong throughout the weekend.
A few retailers weighed in to the chamber’s survey. Nancy White Cassidy, owner of The Cassidy Gallery At Jackson Village, said business was up slightly from last year, and that people are beginning to really discover her gallery.
The chamber heard from Dot Seybold, General Manager at Settlers Green that people were out shopping over the weekend too. “It was a great weekend,” commented Dot. “Saturday was strong, Sunday good and Monday quiet. Many stores reported sales were better than last year,” finished Dot. Laura Tuveson, also from Settlers Green, weighed in too saying, “Store sales were equal or better than last year. Everyone is pleased! Stores saw mainly a Boston market shopper. Canadian traffic was thought to be slightly improved over last year.”
Lodging properties responding to the chamber’s survey were positive about the three-day weekend. Steve Lambert, innkeeper at Bernerhof Inn told the chamber that the weekend was a sell-out which accounted for a 12-percent increase over last year. When bookings were initially lagging for the three-day weekend, Steve created a two-day package with a cookout and Saco River guided ride, and that package ended up filling the inn.
Jen Kovach from the Snowvillage Inn told the chamber that the inn was sold out with a destination wedding for the weekend, and noted that more and more brides are discovering what a great wedding location Eaton offers.
Tom Spaulding, GM of Hampton Inn & Suites also shared comments saying “From a revenue standpoint we were flat to last year. However, we did see a spike in average daily rate. We sold less rooms, for more money, which created revenues even with last year. It was a great weekend.”
Likewise, Conrad Klefos, General Manager at Royalty Inn in Gorham, said “Our room nights were ahead of last year by 9-percent for the holiday stretch and revenues were up by 24-percent.”
Bill Petrone, owner and innkeeper at the Buttonwood Inn in North Conway, shared that occupancy at the inn was up 25-percent over last year, crediting the great weather for drawing people to the Valley.
For all the trip planning resources you need to plan the perfect summer getaway to Mt Washington Valley, visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org. To talk with a vacation planner, call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364), and to learn more about planning your New Hampshire getaway, go to www.VisitNH.gov.
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Photo by Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative Photography.