Some businesses march on " even in a recession | AspenTimes.com

Some businesses march on " even in a recession

Katie Redding
Aspen Times Weekly

ASPEN ” Even in a recession, there is no rest for death and taxes ” which is perhaps the best reason to be in those industries right now, or several others that rarely see a downturn.

Tax accountants say it’s too early to tell if they’ll see a drop in business this season, but the Roaring Fork Valley’s only funeral home agrees that business is holding even.

“There’s absolutely no real difference that we’ve seen, to be honest with you,” said Thomas Walton, manager of the Glenwood Springs-based Farnum Holt Funeral Home and Crematory.

Part of that trend, of course, is that death marches on, even in an economic downturn. But Walton also said that when it comes to funerals, it’s important to many families to fulfill a loved one’s wishes.

“A lot of families say, ‘This is what my mom wants, and we’re going to do what she wants,'” he said.

Count laundry among other necessary services that aren’t seeing a decline. Ryan Chadwick, owner of Green Dry Cleaning and Laundry, which provides wash-and-fold laundry, a coin-operated Laundromat, and dry cleaning, said his business is up between 25 and 30 percent this winter. Chadwick owns the only Laundromat in town, though his dry cleaning business has competition.

“It’s dirty laundry,” said Chadwick. “[Customers] are limited on how many locations they can go to.” But Chadwick also said he’s been working hard to land new accounts for his dry cleaning business, which may account for some of the increase.

And then there’s snow removal. Susan Atchison, co-owner of the Snow King, which provides snow plowing and general snow removal for residents, said the company is “right where we were last year.”

She did acknowledge that some customers have become a little thriftier, and may choose to shovel their own roof, chip out their own ice, or question whether a time-intensive service is necessary. On the other hand, she said, many of their clients have put their homes on the market and want them to be especially presentable.

And even in a recession, it seems, Aspenites must have some small luxuries ” like alcohol.

Scott MacCracken, manager of Local Spirits, said earned revenue between mid-October and Jan. 1 was slightly ahead of last year’s ” even after losing New Year’s Eve business to a bomb scare.

“There is a long-standing theory, of course, that when people are unhappy, they drink, and when they’re happy, they drink,” MacCracken said.

Not only has revenue held, but actual products purchased have increased. Between mid-October and January, the store sold 2,500 more items in 2008-2009 than in 2007-08 ” leading MacCracken to surmise that people may be buying cheaper items, but they’re buying more of them.

The theory that Aspenites are still buying ” but looking for less expensive items ” may hold true for sporting goods as well.

Brad Jasicki, owner of Replay Sports, which sells consignment sporting goods, said his sales have held even this winter.

“I wouldn’t say [they’re] going up, but I haven’t noticed a change since last year and last year was a pretty good year,” he said.

The strong sales may be boosted by the fact that he has more to sell. This winter, Jasicki has seen a marked increase in people coming through the door with goods to sell on consignment, he said.

“A lot of people would hold on to this stuff for years, whether they’re using it or not,” said Jasicki. “Now they’re saying, wait a second…”

kredding@aspentimes.com


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