Idyllwild Businesses Seeing First Major Boost in Tourism
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
IDYLLWILD - It's the second day of the Jazz in the Pines festival held in Idyllwild. The event itself has been a success but after two major wildfires, some local store owners worried that business wouldn't bounce back. Actually, ever since the Mountain Fire in July, it's been an uphill battle for small businesses in Idyllwild. "It’s been severe. It's one of the biggest money making months of the year for small businesses on the mountain,” says owner of thrift shop ‘Something New Made New Byou’ Kimberly Smith. "We were closed for five days because of that fire. Before the fire , we were ahead of last year in sales but that fire put us just even to last year,” says floor manager at Mile High Café Jason Park. Although, he says, thanks to the jazz festival, business is finally beginning to feel like normal again. "It's been bringing in a lot of customers. We also had one of our own special concerts, so I mean, from morning to night, we are fully packed,” says Park.
For Smith, she says Jazz in the Pines is good for the town, not necessarily her business. "By the time folks come and spend money at the Inn and eat and spend money on the tickets, it’s a lot. Plus, there are actually vendors at Jazz in the Pines so for little people like me, we try to stay open late so maybe people will come after. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t,” says Smith.
Residents say people are beginning to realize Idyllwild isn’t ablaze. "A lot of people from L.A., Palm Springs and even people from Canada,” says Park. But many say tourist support is more important now-- then ever before. "One thing people don't realize is when we were evacuated, we not only lost money but had to spend our own money for food, hotels, in some cases, clothing or things we didn't bring with us,” says Smith. Besides, they say, tourists won't even be able to tell there was a fire. "All the burned scorch marks, we don't see it in Idyllwild,” says Park. "By the grace of God, we're still here and actually there is very little evidence that we've even had a fire,” says Smith.