Granby sales tax numbers up 15 percent
March 29, 2009
As other towns in Grand County saw slumps in January sales tax numbers, Granby is celebrating some success. January and February sales tax numbers are up 15 percent over last year in Granby ” a county’s commerce center with its grocery store, gas stations and downtown retail.
Granby Manager Wally Baird attributes the increase to local consumers stretching dollars by simplifying where they’re spent.
“People are staying home and spending more money here,” he said.
Granby Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sharon Brenner found Granby’s latest sales tax numbers encouraging.
Since a controversial budget season, during which the town suffered cutbacks including its economic-development director, Brenner has served as acting liaison between Granby Main Street programs, the town’s efforts and chamber plans.
Following a banner year of improved downtown aesthetics and an official “Main Street” designation in Granby, economic-development strategists were forced to refocus at the onset of the recession.
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“The big push right now is to sustain the businesses that are already here,” Brenner said. “Everybody’s tightening belts, and everybody’s worried.”
Brenner attributes Granby’s promising sales-tax numbers to businesses keeping prices affordable and to a change in consumer habits after gas prices reached an all-time peak. During that time, Brenner surmises, consumers discovered what Granby merchants have to offer.
Although goals of economic development in Granby have become exceedingly modest with a major slowdown in development, work continues, according to Brenner.
As executive director of the town’s Main Street governing board, a board replacing the responsibilities once held by former economic development director Betsy Cook, Brenner can attest that volunteers haven’t missed a beat since a restructuring of the program.
“I think we’ve picked up where (Cook and others) left off, only because the committees stepped up and did what they needed to do,” she said.
In example, the Main Street Program is moving forward with three, soon-to-be four, active committees that focus on promotions, economic restructuring/business recruitment, downtown design and organization of volunteers and public relations.
Most exciting, Brenner said, is one committee’s effort to compile all and any information needed to start a business in Granby ” with the goal of creating a comprehensive “How To” online.
From permits to available loans to demographics, the booklet would be a one-stop reference for potential Granby business owners.
Likewise, another committee devoted to promotions is focusing on two main events for this summer, Granby Fest on July 17 and Octoberfest, Oct. 3. The Main Street design committee is working on a downtown sign plan.
Meanwhile, the chamber of commerce is coordinating its Fourth of July Parade, a fly-fishing festival at Edgewater Resort, July 12, and the Granby’s weekly farmer’s market, starting June 5, as well as summer promotional packages targeting Front Range tourists.
And on a parallel course, the town of Granby is pursuing economic development by remaining attentive to “quality of life” improvements.
“We’re working with a downtown developer,” Baird said. “We met with him earlier this week, and certainly hope something happens there.”
The town is welcoming a hospital facility, plans to annex SilverCreek and its convention center, and is making improvements to its parks. And, in that vein, Granby is trying to get a pedestrian overpass that connects Main Street to Kaibab Park and is finding ways to continue the Fraser to Granby bicycle trail to the downtown.
“We continue to do things that will encourage tourism,” Baird said. “But those things are sometimes a long time in coming.”
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.