Local business over the Fourth of July holiday period was—as described by one Ketchum restaurant manager—“fantabulous.”
Business owners throughout the Wood River Valley reported volumes that exceeded those of any Fourth of July period since the recession began in 2009, and in some cases the best ever.
“It was wild,” said Paula Perry, co-owner of Perry’s restaurant in Ketchum.
Perry said the restaurant did more business on Saturday than it has on any day since it opened its doors in 1985.
“Hopefully, it’s a sign of things bouncing back,” she said.
Perry said she saw people of all age groups, including many who came to town for the MASSV music event. According to organizers, MASSV drew about 2,500 people on Friday and 3,200 on Saturday. An estimated 2,000 people attended last year when the event was held during the weekend of July 13-14.
Hailey Chamber of Commerce Office Manager GeeGee Lowe said the Fourth of July Parade and the Days of the Old West Rodeo brought in huge crowds.
“People who have been in the parade year after year said it was the busiest ever,” Lowe said. “I had never seen so many chairs lined up on Main Street on Friday night. The enthusiasm was bubbling from one end to the other.”
She said the rodeo arena was “packed to capacity” on Thursday night.
Jeannie Greenberg, co-owner of Shorty’s Diner on Main Street in Hailey, said, “This was the busiest four days we’ve ever had.”
Carey resident Bonnie Newton, who was exhibiting at one of the antiques shows in Hailey, said business was great on the Fourth, but then petered out through the weekend. She said her stall was slammed by a “horrific” storm that blew in on Friday afternoon.
“It was just like a tornado hit me,” she said.
Newton said at least six people were trying to hold her tent down, but a steel pole was bent and the tarp was shredded. She said an 80-pound table was picked up by the wind and flipped upside down about eight feet away. She said much of her merchandise was destroyed, with lamps and other glass items broken.
Sun Valley Resort spokesman Jack Sibbach said the resort does not release guest numbers but was “very happy” with the volume of business.
Bob Gordon, owner of Formula Sports in Ketchum, said, “The whole store was just jamming. We had better numbers than we’ve ever had for this period.”
Jon Peavey, the general manager of Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill who reported “fantabulous” business, said volume was “probably approaching” pre-recession levels.
Chip Atkinson, co-owner of Atkinsons’ Markets, said business was “pretty strong” at all three stores, but also noted that business is not yet back to what it was before the recession.
Friedman Memorial Airport Manager Rick Baird said the airport experienced 959 landings or takeoffs from July 2-7, an approximately 8 percent increase over last year’s 889 operations. He said those figures don’t match the number of visits by private planes during pre-recession times, however.
Art gallery owners reported a very busy Gallery Walk on Friday night.
“It was packed in here,” said Coly McCauley, marketing director at the Gail Severn Galley in Ketchum. “You couldn’t even move.”
He said the gallery made quite a few sales, including sales of “big-ticket items.”
Andria Friesen called the atmosphere at her Ketchum gallery “uplifting.” She said she heard numerous comments that remodels of the Helm Station building on Sun Valley Road and of Sturtevants on Main Street had helped add to the town’s “positive energy.”
“I’m entirely optimistic about a successful summer,” she said.