Sales vary from Truckee to lake |

Sales vary from Truckee to lake

Photo by Jason Kelley/Sierra SunA couple strolls along North Shore Boulevard in Tahoe City. Truckee reported slow sales for the winter season while North Shore businesses fared better.

Merchants in Truckee are reporting low winter earnings while lake-side retail is looking up. This was one of the worst winters Ive ever had, said Stefanie Olivieri, retail business owner and president of the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association. Theres no question that the economy is soft. Tourism has been off since 9-11 in combination with high gas prices and the Bypass, which is certainly being felt.But customers are only half of the equation, Olivieri said. High costs of workers compensation, rent and insurance are also making things difficult for business owners. Truckee restaurants fared better though, a pattern that was repeated on the lake. Pretty much every single day this year beat out every single day last year, said Jennifer Thompson, manager of Pacific Crest Restaurant in Truckee. Of course, now were in the slow season and weve got nothing it kind of overshadows everything.Thompson couldnt offer an explanation for the gap between restaurant sales and retail sales, but Douglas Dale, owner of Wolfdales Unique Cuisine in Tahoe City did.When the weather is good, people ski by day and dine by night, plus theres the bad weather caf theory that people go out to lunch when the weather is bad, he said. Plus, when youre hungry youre hungry, but you dont always need to buy a couch.And though sales were down in Truckee, merchants in both Tahoe City and Kings Beach reported strong numbers.All of the sudden we had this incredibly strong March and April. What Im hearing is that everyone is wiping their brow and saying Whew, said Dave Wilderotter, owner of Tahoe Daves Skis & Boards. I think that most people are now saying they had average sales and others are saying above average.So why the discrepancy between Truckee and North Shore businesses? Some think that the train-town appeal is wearing off.Personally, I think that a little bit of the trend and thrill of Truckee and Squaw is burned out, and next winter [the trend] will be Northstar, and then it will circle back, Dale said. Any way you slice it, its all about ebb and flow, both Olivieri and Dale said. Next year could be totally different.

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