Local Businesses Anticipate Impact from Flaming Gorge Days

Local Businesses Anticipate Impact from Flaming Gorge Days

Community members gather at Evers Park for the Flaming Gorge Days vendor market in 2019. SweetwaterNOW file photo

GREEN RIVER — While Flaming Gorge Days brings fun and community to Green River, it also brings some financial stimulation to the local businesses in the downtown area.

With so many residents and visitors out and about throughout the weekend, it’s only natural for business to increase, especially in the downtown area. Vendors will be scattered throughout Evers Park, local businesses will welcome new and returning customers, and the Embassy Tavern is hosting the Flaming Gorge Afterparty with live musical acts performing on Railroad Avenue.

“It’s huge for the downtown businesses, it really kicks off the summer for sales,” Arctic Circle owner Robert Berg said. “Usually that’s [Arctic Circle’s] biggest and busiest weekend of the year.”

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Arctic Circle’s uptick in patronage is largely to do with the amount of people who receive coupons during the Flaming Gorge Days parade.

“We start hiring usually April and May to have the number of people we need during that weekend,” Berg said.

While the weekend provides extra business to many downtown establishments, Mike Frink, owner of Sweetwater Trophies & Gifts, said he sees an increase in downtown activity the days leading up to the event.

“Flaming Gorge days has always had an impact, mostly before it starts like on Wednesday and Thursday when folks start coming to town,” Frink said.

With last year’s Flaming Gorge Days event cancelled, some businesses felt the impact through a loss of sales.

“It definitely had a big impact not having it to a lot of businesses, especially those that sell goods at the market,” Frink said.

However, Berg said Arctic Circle was able to curtail the loss of business thanks many individuals and businesses in the the downtown community putting together an event in Flaming Gorge Days’ stead, called Party in the Park.

“The grassroots people that took over and put something together for that weekend actually salvaged that weekend for us,” Berg said.

One of the organizers and participants in last year’s grassroots event, Bonnie Tippy, owner of Red White Buffalo, said she is going into this weekend with no expectations, as they have heard many negative things from community members about this year’s Flaming Gorge Days. Much of this negative reaction has to do with the city contracting an out-of-state organizer to run the event. The $21,500 contract with Denver-based company, Adelska, was approved by the Green River City Council in a tight 4-3 vote in April.

“We have heard a lot of negative things about Flaming Gorge Days this year, and [it] seems several people want to boycott it instead of participating,” she said. “Any business is good business but we have no expectations.”

Since they did host their own event last year in place of Flaming Gorge Days, she said it’s hard to say what “normal” business is during Flaming Gorge Days.

“Talking to customers about it, not too many [are] excited, and people are upset with the city on how things are going and not going, as well as being handled,” Tippy said.