Wednesday, October 2, 2013

LOT for air service will help businesses

     As someone who has lived in Ketchum for 42 years and owned and operated a business for most of those years, I will be voting for the 1 percent increase to the local option tax on Nov. 5. My business is open year-round and I maintain full-time employment for my employees. I have experienced the slack days of the 70s, when streets would empty and everyone would go on vacation, to the years when the airlines and hotels would run promotional ads resulting in long lines on the mountain, and full bars, restaurants and hotels the majority of the year.

     Tourism is our economic foundation. Small businesses like mine can completely tie revenues to the seasonal flight schedules. The gradual erosion of the nonstop flights to the airport over the last 10 years has definitely impacted me and other small business owners. Many customers tell me that it is “just too difficult and time constraining” to access our valley. We are losing more than we are gaining at this time. And the overall decline is affecting my employees as well.  I am losing a long-term employee who grew up here, because her spouse has been unable to get consistent work here.  They have lived the last five years for the most part separately, and have decided to seek employment where they can be together. What a frustration to feel you have no options. 

     Our community needs to be proactive and act now to improve tourism and protect local jobs.  With funds from the LOT increase, we can more aggressively market nonstop flights into Friedman, making it easier for people to access our valley, increasing tourism and protecting local jobs. We as a community will reap the benefits. Please join me in voting in favor of the LOT.  For more information, go to

Barry Peterson

Barry Peterson Jewelers


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