Sturgis business impact all over the map

Business: Event earns rave reviews from some sectors, others go into the red.

Potential customers: Motorcycles line the streets in the downtown area over the weekend.

For some it was a fantastic weekend, for others, not so good.

How Sturgis North affected businesses varied, apparently based on what services or products were being offered and where the businesses were located.

A cursory survey by the Observer showed pubs were affected positively, as were hotels.

“It went fantastic, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to this town,” said Dave Kainth, owner of the Hideaway Pub. “Sales were up, we were busy the whole five days.”

At the Barley Station, co-owner Kathy Bradford said sales were up significantly.

“We did very well.”

At the Podollan Inn, general manager Angel Agassiz said Sturgis “made a busy time busier,” noting the hotel had a seven-page waiting list during the event.

At the Prestige Harbourfront Resort, general manager Heather Bodnarchuk said there was a 16 per cent increase in occupancy over the previous year. However, there were lots of last-minute cancellations, so the hotel wasn’t full.

Regarding restaurants contacted, reviews were mixed.

“I would rather it not be here,” said Al Boucher, co-owner of the Blue Canoe. “We were a lot quieter last week than we were last year… Even though there were events downtown, people weren’t spending money. I would rather have my locals around and take care of them like they take care of me all winter.”

He said he has nothing against bikers, “but it definitely wasn’t good for my business.”

Nearby at Culinary Inspirations, owner Cookie Langenfeld said her business had only six customers specifically from Sturgis, but it was still a good day.

“Our business was fine, we didn’t have any negative impact I don’t think overall,” she said, noting she still needs to compare numbers.

At the Shuswap Pie Company, owner Mary Jo Beirnes said she had an average weekend.

“A lot of our regular customers clearly stayed away, but they were replaced by people attending the event. It was kind of a wash.”

Annette Lefebvre at Booster Juice, who paid $3,000 for a vendor spot at the fall fairgrounds, is not happy.

“It was horrific. It was a nightmare… They were so disorganized,” she said, adding she was promised about 15,000 people would be coming through every day – and the discrepancy can’t be blamed on the weather.

“To put it frankly, I lost my ass…”

Craig Pulsifer, who set up a photography site at the fairgrounds, said he was led to believe he could expect at least 20,000 people.

“We’re about four grand in the hole right now.”

Lance Johnson, owner of Centenoka Park Mall, said the mall did very well, especially with traffic from their show ‘n’ shine.

“All the merchants were pretty happy.”

At the Mall at Piccadilly, manager Lori Cymbaluk said success depended on the business and what it was selling. Touch’A Texas, for instance, which was carrying Sturgis merchandise, did well.

“Overall, I think probably a few benefited.”

The Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce did a survey, with 62 businesses responding by press time. Of those, 30.6 per cent said Sturgis had a positive effect on their business, 8.1 per cent said a negative effect and 61.3 per cent said no effect. However, 85 per cent of those who responded said Sturgis was a positive event for the town and they’d like to see it return in 2012.

At Askew’s, manager George Green said the store was busy Monday and Tuesday, but slowed right down Wednesday through Sunday.

“It was well off normal sales.”

At Save On Foods, manager Randall Bamford said the lead-in to Sturgis was very good, but the weekend saw a dip in sales.

At DeMille’s Farm Market, Brad DeMille said his business had its worst week in the same period over the past six years. He thinks a lot had to do with poor traffic flow, where people didn’t want to turn left.

“We were shocked at how poorly we did.”

At Canadian Tire, the picture was rosy. Manager Justin Mondor said sales were up 47 per cent for one of the days. Mosquito-related products and water were big sellers.


“It was definitely good, it brought some sales to our business… Overall it was a good success.”



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