Park City councilor, a businessman, prepares for ‘next to nothing’ in sales in coming year
A businessman member of the Park City Council on Friday said he is preparing for sales in the next 12 months to drop precipitously as the economic impacts of the spread of the novel coronavirus extend throughout the year and into 2021.
City Councilor Max Doilney made the comments during an online event hosted by City Hall as the municipal government continues outreach efforts designed to provide information about the response to the disease.
Doilney said he is preparing for business at his places to be “next to nothing” for a 12-month period. He also said he plans to keep what he described as a “skeleton staff.” Doilney did not speak in any depth about the situation, but the comments are noteworthy nonetheless coming from a figure who operates in the public sector as a member of the City Council and the private sector as a business owner.
Doilney owns Corner Store Pub & Grill and Corner Sports, both at the Resort Center at Park City Mountain Resort. The location of the two businesses is especially notable to the comment on Friday. Sales at Corner Store Pub & Grill and Corner Sports are closely tied to skier and snowboarder numbers at PCMR. If Doilney predicts such a steep drop in business at his two places, it would seem there is an expectation of a fall in skier and snowboarder numbers.
A plunge that severe would have widespread effects throughout the community’s economy since, under that scenario, Deer Valley Resort would be expected to suffer as well. If sales experience such a steep drop, the effects would almost certainly include falling employment numbers in Park City and surrounding Summit County. That, in turn, would be expected to hurt household spending.
The discussion on Friday covered numerous economic topics as speakers discussed the current situation and looked toward the recovery in coming months. In one stark statement, a representative of the lodging industry said only approximately 2% or 3% of rooms are occupied. The lodging numbers in May, seen as the toughest month of the shoulder season for business, are typically some of the lowest of the year.
Danny Williams, representing the Park City Area Lodging Association, said he hopes Utah residents in July and August decide to take trips to Park City for so-called staycations, or when someone travels to a destination close to their home rather than out of their state. He predicted the leisure-travel segment will stage a comeback earlier than corporate travel.
Mayor Andy Beerman acknowledged the lodging industry has been “clobbered by this.” Beerman’s business background is in lodging.
There was also talk about a conflict in thinking between people who want the tourism industry reopened quickly, making an argument centered on economic reasons, and others who desire slower movement based on health concerns. Doilney noted the danger of a reoccurrence of the sickness as he cautioned about the timing of a reopening for business.
The Main Street core is also suffering. The leader of the Historic Park City Alliance, which represents businesses on Main Street or just off the street, said during the event there were just 30 businesses reopened by then. Alison Kuhlow, the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, said traffic is low along Main Street but added May is typically slow on Main Street anyway.
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Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt died Friday from injuries sustained in an off-duty accident earlier in the week, the agency announced.