Staying alive for mud season lull
May 2, 2008
Main Street Deli isn’t any busier than it usually is during the down time after the ski resorts close. What’s unusual is that it’s open at all.
"It’s dead," said Barb Lindbloom, who owns the deli with her husband Mike. "So it’s normal." She said they see a few locals trickle into the deli in the morning and a few tourists in the afternoon.
Since Barb and Mike Lindbloom started the Deli in 1983, they have often closed their doors for two or three weeks after the ski season ends. This year, they’re open for business with nearly fulltime hours. "We decided it’s better for us to say open," she said. "We’ve got projects here and things to do at home."
The Lindblooms aren’t alone in staying open during the off-season. Other businesses are serving and selling during one of the few times of the year Main Street looks more like a mining ghost town than a tourist hotspot.
"It’s not if you’re losing money," said The Spur Bar and Grill manager Casey Metzger. "It’s how much you lose night to night."
The Spur is open during the off-season, Metzger said, in part to promote its new kitchen. "The chances of losing money are pretty good," he said. "But if you’re building something for the future you can’t look at it night to night."
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Metzger said The Spur continues to do well on weekends and benefits from low hotel rates that attract conventions as well as the lack of competition on Main Street. "We’re sort of in an obscure location," Metzger said. "Most of our business comes from word of mouth."
The Spur opened in 2001 and is known primarily as a nightclub and bar. The kitchen was added about a year ago. "It’s so crazy during the ski season that most locals steer clear of Main Street," Metzger said. "This is a good time for them to come out."
Billy Williams agreed. He is the owner and manager of Butchers Chop House & Bar. He said his restaurants aren’t open for April and May just to make money. "We want to make sure we’re taking care of our good locals," he said. The restaurant was closed for just three days following the end of the ski season.
Other restaurants benefit from being open for lunch when most diners are open for dinner only. A hostess at Café Terigo said the Italian restaurant was "full" for lunch Wednesday because few other places were open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sandy Geldhof, the executive director of the Historic Main Street Business Alliance, said that the off-season may not be any busier for retailers and restaurants than it’s usual glacial pace, but it may be shorter.
"What used to be kind of a shoulder season is now shorter and shorter," Geldhof said. "The trend is that more tourists are staying late into the spring and people are arriving earlier in the summer. They’re not just coming to ski anymore."
Geldhof is in her first year as executive director of the HMSBA, but she has lived in Park City since before the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Park City Chamber/Bureau president Bill Malone said he hadn’t heard of more restaurants and retailers staying open for May. "It really depends on the weather," Malone said. "The hotter it is in Salt Lake, the more people will come up here."
Malone said business won’t pick up in Mark City until around July 4.
Mike Sweeney is the past president of the HMSBA and the owner of Town Lift Plaza, which houses Flying Sumo, Kristauf’s Martini Bar and other restaurants and shops. "The last two weeks in April and the start of May a lot of people try to hang in there," Sweeney said. "It’s the same as years past. This is where people usually do their deep cleaning and get ready for the summer season. It’s a transition."