Mixed reviews on Labor Day business
The end of summer.
Did it go out with a bang? To find the answer, it depends on who you talk to.
Many outdoor recreation-oriented businesses and gaming properties reported a very busy weekend, while smaller businesses and lodging properties said things were slower than usual.
All four major casinos and Embassy Suites Resort were sold out on Saturday night. About half reported sold-out rooms Friday and Sunday, and most said business had dropped off by Monday afternoon.
But even some of those who said business was good admitted there have been better Labor Day weekends.
“As far as Labor Days go, it was probably about average,” said a source at Caesars Tahoe. “I don’t think it was slow, but I don’t think it was busier than normal either.”
At Camp Richardson Resort, a group of 1,000 people who visit the resort every year kept the area packed with people, said Liza Marie Korba, lodging manager.
Cabins, tents and campsites were sold out all weekend, she said.
“It was a madhouse,” Korba said. “It was very busy and very fun – a really great weekend.”
At Ski Run Marina, plenty of people wanted to enjoy the lake with motorboats, sailboats and personal watercraft, said Ginger Rice, boat rental office manager at Ski Run Boat Company.
“We were extremely busy Saturday, and Sunday we were steady,” she said.
She characterized this Labor Day as “comparable” to past years.
“It’s always the last hurrah for the season, but we’ll stay relatively busy through October,” Rice said.
And while some were out enjoying the mild summer weather, many others were looking toward snow.
Hundreds of people turned out for the 11th annual Heavenly Sports Tent Sale, rummaging through 1996-97 ski and snowboard equipment and looking for the best buy.
A line of eager shoppers formed outside the tent at the Crecent V Center by 8:30 a.m. Saturday, and by Monday afternoon, the stock was considerably reduced.
One employee said he thought this year’s sale was a record. He said he cleared out seven empty tables Sunday and that the stock of 2,000 goggles was diminished to about 50.
But other businesses – particularly small motels – were left with a less-than-impressive holiday weekend turnout, as neon “vacancy” signs lined the Stateline area and U.S. Highway 50 corridor.
“It’s been slower than normal,” said Russ Henderson, the front desk clerk at the Driftwood Lodge. “We filled up Saturday, but that was about it.”
Henderson, who has lived at Lake Tahoe for 25 years, said Labor Day weekend has never been the best holiday for smaller lodging properties, but said he has seen business taper off in the past 10 years.
That was also the feeling of Tom Racz, owner of Country Scooter Rentals on Emerald Bay Road.
“I thought it was kind of slow compared to previous years,” he said. “Luckily we didn’t get rained out, but we didn’t pull in as many customers as we normally do – and that goes for the whole season.”
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