Basalt sales surged in March |

Basalt sales surged in March

Basalt’s grocery stores continued in March to lead a revival of the town’s economy.

Sales tax revenue collected by the town government surged nearly 31 percent in March compared with the prior year. The taxes collected in December through March are up 25 percent. In both cases, retail sales of food played a big role in the gains. Whole Foods Market opened in Willits Town Center in August.

Sales tax revenues from grocery store sales jumped 43.5 percent from $96,603 in March 2012 to $138,591 this year.

Other sectors of Basalt’s economy also experienced strong gains. Restaurants with bars saw sales climb nearly 32 percent in March. General retail shops were up 28.5 percent, and retail sporting-goods shops were up 14.5 percent. Businesses selling building materials posted a gain of nearly 12 percent. Liquor stores were up 28 percent.

For the tax-collection year to date, Basalt has reaped $1,357,061 in revenue. That is an increase of 25 percent from $1,082,122 the year before and significantly higher than the level from 2008, the last strong year before the economy tanked. For December through March 2008, the town collected $1,282,969 in sales tax revenue.

General retail sales, which include Basalt’s mom-and-pop shops, were up nearly 43 percent through March. Retail sporting-goods sales revenue was up 17 percent over that period. Restaurants with bars managed only a 2 percent increase for the year to date. Sales of building materials were down 1 percent.

The performance of individual businesses could be better or worse than their sector as a whole.

Combined sales of grocery stores have produced $668,473 so far this year for the town. That is a 34 percent increase from the same period the prior year.

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