Sundance on Main Street meant serious business
January 31, 2014
On Saturday, Jan. 18, the Sundance Film Festival was not the only event to draw the eyes of those on Main Street. Two men were gallivanting down the street in nothing but fur-lined jock straps, an item better known as "The Duke," sold at Alaska Fur Gallery.
"Disclaimer: those men were not employees of ours," store manager Jody Jensen said, laughing. "Those guys just came in and bought them, and next thing you know, they were walking around in them."
Jensen said the store usually sells a couple hundred of "The Duke" during Sundance, because they are both very warm and an affordable gag gift. In fact, the store sold more than just gag gifts during the festival.
According to Jensen, business was good. She said the family-operated store, now in its 13th year on Main Street, always does well during Sundance. This year was no exception.
Sundance not only brings films and visitors from all over the world but lots of business to the shops in town. Jensen said this year, Alaska Fur Gallery sold many of their Rizal shearling coats and sheared mink coats, bringing in the same numbers in sales as last year.
Mary Finn, manager of the Prospect Clothing shop, said they prepared for a busy Sundance week by stocking up on every item in the store. They are always swamped during Sundance as well, she said, and it is one of their favorite times of the year.
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Visitors are usually unprepared for the cold weather, so Finn said they drop in the store to buy warm accessories.
"We sell a bunch of hats and beanies, because people coming in from Los Angeles don’t bring any since they don’t really have any," Finn said. "Those always sell the most and then boots and gloves and warm stuff like that."
Overland Sheepskin Company sold many cold weather accessories as well, according to manager Jen Zimmerman. She said there was "tons of traffic" and a lot of buyers throughout the week, even after having recently moved to a new location on Main Street.
"We just moved into this space in November, so this is a new location for us," she said. "But we did beat last year’s numbers at the same time."
Zimmerman said people from all over the country and the world came for the festival, so it makes sense that they would want a piece of Park City to take home with them.
Kristen Moss, owner of Flight Boutique, said most of the jewelry in her and business partner Blaire Isleib’s shop is locally handmade. "It’s a big draw for people to come in and get something that they can’t get back home," she said.
That may have contributed to what Moss said were greater numbers in sales than they had during Sundance in 2010, 2011 and 2012. She said traffic was consistent and slightly busier than last year, and overall, "it was a good Sundance."
While other stores saw most customers buying last-minute cold weather wear, Moss said there was nothing in the store, in particular, that customers went in looking for. The fair weather, she said, was one of the reasons why.
"The weather was so fair and good that no one was in panic mode to buy extremely wintery stuff," Moss said. "For us, [best-selling items] really vary. We only have one size run of each piece in our store, so it was a huge range."
Zimmerman said a good Sundance would not have been possible without the town’s readiness and preparation. Although parking and other "normal operations" were somewhat complicated throughout the week, she said the town knows what it’s doing by now and everyone was ready.
"Obviously, [Sundance] has been going on here for 30 years, so they know how to plan for it and did a very nice job," she said. "We all worked through it."