Area weathers chilly summer
Maybe it's the irresistible fudge. Could be the classic soda fountain. Or perhaps the healthy, tasty food that Main is known for.
Add the unique northwoods décor and a funky T shirt or two to the equation and voila! - an alluring summer destination awaits.
This summer's chilly temps and economic doldrums do not appear to have dampened enthusiasm for what Main has in store - stores, that is.
"Overall, I'm not hearing the doom and gloom," Katie Magozzi said of the summer's original forecast. "The sky did not fall; life is good."
Park Rapids has "the package," Magozzi said of the city's "quaint charm with all the amenities" - lakes, forests and trails. "And there's no passport needed; just get in the car and go."
"Summer went well overall," Downtown Business Association co-chair Cynthia Jones reports. "In a cool summer, tourists come into town for shopping."
The market was "soft," she said, reflective of the economy. "Higher end items were not moving as fast. But foot traffic was up," Jones said. Sidewalk sales proved successful, she said.
The tourist season, she said, is down to six weeks, July to mid-August. Jones attributes this to school - graduations in the metro in mid-June and school starting earlier.
But the area is seeing an increase in seasonal traffic, she said. People with cabins are selling their primary residences, spending summers here and heading south, come frost.
"It's a good market," Jones said of seasonal residents who shop in town. "We're encouraged."
The Downtown Revitalization Committee is developing marketing strategies for next summer's construction, she said, including events and specials to "keep customers smiling and having fun."
Meanwhile, the Chamber is about to launch television commercials in the metro, beginning next week, to lure visitors to Park Rapids.
And plans call for applying for Park Rapids to become the site of the 2012 Governor's Fishing Opener.
Delegates will be heading to Kabetogema Lake in May, site of the 2010 opener, to study the intricacies of hosting the event.
"Keen interest" has been shown," Magozzi said of core support for hosting the event. "We won't lose the momentum. We'll have a solid application in place next year."