Weekend brings much-needed dollars to local eateries, shops
After a lackluster kick-off to winter and a painfully quiet Christmas season, Presidents Day weekend, the last holiday weekend of the season, gave area merchants and restaurants a much-needed opportunity to catch up on lost sales.
But for some businesses a single three-day money-maker was not enough to completely bridge the gap.
At ski resorts like Squaw Valley USA and Northstar-at-Tahoe, restaurants that typically bring in the bulk of their annual revenue between Thanksgiving and Presidents Day, took a hard financial hit this winter due to rains and late snow. And some restaurateurs said that dining establishments around the lake were hit even harder.
But beginning last Friday, hordes of weekenders mended the wounds to some degree.
“I don’t think that we can completely off-set the late winter start. What we need is to make up six weeks of lost business, and you can’t do that in a weekend,” said Stephen Kanetake, manager of High Sierra Grille in the Village at Squaw Valley. “But Tahoe City has probably been hurt the most, especially with the power outages and the New Year’s debacle.”
To help bridge the gap, the Grille and other village restaurants will begin changing their image in the spring months by offering less expensive menu items aimed at local customers, Kanataki said.
Northstar businesses also fared well over the weekend, despite snow on the roads on Saturday, said Michael Richmond, manager of Timbercreek Restaurant and Bar.
“We are in a unique situation by being at a ski resort, where we are able to do more business than other restaurants on the lake,” he said. “[Sales] were thrown off a bit (this weekend) by the snow on Saturday because it took people so long to get up here, but Sunday was probably the second busiest day of the year for us, after that one bluebird day at the end of December.”
Richmond said the mass of visitors over the weekend gave Timbercreek much-needed income, but he also maintained that the unremarkable sales season is far from over.
“We are also losing a big weekend this year with Easter being so late. How much interest is there going to be in skiing at the end of April?”
Granite Chief was busy through the weekend and into Tuesday.
“We had a good weekend that seems to be continuing into the week,” said Granite Chief office manager Susan Clark. “Sales started off behind, but we are certainly catching up.”
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