MEDFORD, Ore. – With tourist season winding, local businesses are starting to weigh their gains and losses when it comes to summer revenue.
Tourists packed the streets of downtown Ashland enjoying some of the final sidewalk sales before tourist season comes to an end. This year the unusually smoky and warm weather sent some businesses into a panic.
“Of course at first when the smoke and fires hit we were all quite concerned, but we just really got our thinking caps on and decided we were going to have to diversify and get people to places where there wasn’t so much smoke or fire,” said co-owner of Main Street Tours, Kim Lewis.
Lewis rescheduled, cancelled or rearranged trips just depending on the weather. Other businesses like the red zone bar and grill say they benefitted from the smoke.
“We had more people coming here just because of the air conditioning — and a smoke free zone because most people don’t have air conditioning at their house so it was a way to actually come in and be smoke free,” said RedZone Bar and Grill owner, Austin Loreman.
Redzone said they are seeing less tourists this year, but overall their revenue is in the green.
“It’s still been solid,” said Loreman. “The numbers seem to be doing okay — you don’t see as many people Friday or Saturday at the sidewalk sales, but it’s a solid summer in Ashland.”
“A lot of tourists come to our shop this time of year, and they were going to come out no matter what because they have a week of vacation – they are here, and they are going to shop,” said Jewel Box manager, Sarah Gore.
Outdoor businesses like main street tours say the warm weather sticking around is paying off. They are seeing a surge in customers later in the season that they would normally not see otherwise.
“We’re going to come out fine this just fine,” said Lewis. “It’s part of Southern Oregon, and we are just thankful to have a good, healthy season in the long run.”