Most Salt Lake businesses benefited from Games 

A survey of downtown Salt Lake City businesses found most benefited from hosting the 2002 Winter Olympic Games last month.

"The majority of downtown businesses saw some type of increased sales during the Games, or at least did not see sales decrease," said David Baird, economic development director for the Salt Lake Downtown Business Alliance, which carried out the survey.

"Only 28 per cent of the businesses saw some level of decreased sales, which reflects the sporadic patterns seen in previous Olympic Games.

"Some businesses may not have realized their Olympic expectations but the aggregate economic impact of the Games on the downtown economy clearly is a positive one."

A total of 199 businesses responded to the survey. Of those 121 were in the mall and 78 were street businesses.

They were asked if sales changed during the Games, if the business changed its hours of operation to accommodate the Olympics, if so was the change worthwhile, and what percentage of guests were international.

The survey found:

• 54 per cent had some level if increased sales during the Games;

• 18 per cent experienced no change in sales;

• 28 per cent had reduced sales.

As expected businesses had different experiences depending on their location.

Of the 78 non-mall tenants:

• 6 per cent had a 100 per cent increase in sales;

• 24 per cent had at least a 50 per cent increase in sales;

• 9 per cent had at least a 25 per cent increase in sales;

• 28 per cent experienced normal sales;

• 5 per cent experienced a 25 per cent decrease in sales;

• 8 per cent experienced a 50 per cent decrease in sales;

• 3 per cent experienced a 75 per cent decrease in sales;

• 17 per cent did not respond to the question.

Many non-mall businesses said their local customers were scared away by pre-Olympic traffic projections, which largely never developed.

Non-retail businesses in this location, which switched their operating hours to avoid traffic congestion in the first few days, actually switched back to normal hours as fears over traffic jams never materialized.

Of the 121 mall tenants:

•18 per cent experienced 100 per cent increase in sales;

•16 per cent experienced at least a 50 per cent increase in sales;

• 25 per cent experienced at least a 25 per cent increase in sales;

• 12 per cent experienced normal sales activity;

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