The story headlined Bikers+business=happy campers (Herald, Sept. 7) is another example of dangerous feel good journalism that continues to support the inaccurate perception that everything is cruising along just fine in good old Durango.
The vague comments and unsupported data of Durango Area Tourism Office representatives are inaccurate. They need to be taken in balance with scientific data coming off merchant traffic counters and point of sale systems before you publish an article stating how wonderful the weekend was for the local economy.
Our retail shop on Main Avenue just went through our seventh Labor Day weekend. While our data does support increases in store traffic, sales and revenues over the same period last year, the increases were not significant as stated in the article.
Overall, our business saw a 4.6 percent increase in traffic, an 11 percent increase in total number of sales and an 8.9 percent increase in gross revenue. While these increases might sound promising, when you break them down in terms of real dollars, it isnt enough money to cover one-third of the monthly rent at our location.
Since 2007, the last rally before Durango officials decided to drop their support of annual rally events our shop has experienced revenue declines between 42.2 percent and 52.7 percent over Labor Day weekend. The severe economic downturn certainly has contributed to these declines, but Durangos decision to alienate thousands of bikers who made Labor Day weekend in Durango an annual pilgrimage certainly did not help the situation.
The Heralds story gives the impression that the 2010 Labor Day weekend was a huge economic success for businesses in Durango. That is not the reality when you start putting perspective to the data. While we are pleased that revenues increased again this year, readers need to understand that Durango businesses need local support now more than ever. The Herald has an obligation to validate information and not just publish the opinions of local tourism officials and vague statements from business owners who might be reluctant to provide real data.
Eric Kiesel, Half Price Tees, Durango