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Tourism in Mammoth was off the charts, but that didnât necessarily translate into booming business, say the townâs business people.
âI donât know that weâve seen the bottom,â said Dawn Vereuck of Elegant Bath & Kitchen. âThereâs still a sense of fear.â
Tony Colasardo of Footloose Sports sensed largely the same thing.
âPeople are just a little more cautiousâ he said. Theyâre watching their pennies.â
Random interviews around Mammoth business community turned up the same story, over and over. While the town was packed in its relatively short summer â TOT numbers were the highest ever for July and August â visitors seem to have held on to their dough as much as possible.
Fine dining and high-end restaurants reported either flat margins over last summer or that they were off a few points, while family restaurants reported they did all right, under the circumstances.
On the retail end, Vereuck and Colasardo offer excellent snapshots of what happened all over town, and their responses to the visitorsâ caution also indicated caution on the sellersâ end.
Vereuck, whose business has been a mainstay of the Minaret Mall for years, said she is moving her business to a slightly smaller space in the Plaza on Old Mammoth Road, and is changing the name of her store.
âThe word âElegantâ doesnât work right now,â she said. âIt sounds too high-end, and thatâs not just my opinion. It comes from feedback.â She said her new establishment probably will be called âEastside Interiors.â
For Colasardo, he and his crew made a good call in stocking less product.
âWe kind of anticipated a bit of a slowdown,â he said.
The most interesting part of his summer business was watching a flip-flop from visitors and residents who in past years bought bikes. (Bike sales are at the center of his summer business.) This past summer, customers instead veered toward renting bikes. It was an indicator, he said, of the pervading caution in the marketplace.
Another factor is that kids are going back to school earlier than in past years.
âJune and July we were up a little,â he said, âand weâd have had maybe a great summer if it wasnât for the last two weeks of August. Kids are going back to school earlier, and that kind of killed the momentum of the summer business.â
This situation is not isolated to Mammoth or resort towns, Vereuck said.
âI was in Seattle last week, and weâd go by a Ross Dress For Less store, and there were no fewer than 50 people lining up in there, every single hour. At Nordstrom Rack, there were just gobs of people.â
At her store, not so much. âI kind of anticipated that,â she said. âWeâre not a necessity. I donât think weâre going to see a quick turnaround.â
She said she, like everyone else, noticed town seemed to be packed for summer, but that didnât translate.
âIt seems to me that people were here, but chose to stay in and instead of maybe going out, they were cooking in, too.â