If you open, will they come?
Enterprise photos by Nate Howard
The sidewalk along Park Street is nearly vacant on Tuesday afternoon in Gardiner.
Francesca Monte, owner of Outwest T’s & Apparel, says her business is down 97% compared with this time last year.
Chloe Chase sells ice cream from her food trailer,“ Scoop! There it Is,” Tuesday in Gardiner.
Annie Tan and Tony Chen, of Hollywood, Florida, drink coffee outside of Yellowstone Perk and Pharmacy on Gardiner’s Park Street Tuesday.
Enterprise photos by Nate Howard
There’s far more elk than tourists in the Gardiner area.
Yellowstone National Park, which typically sees more than 3 million people, primarily in the summer months, is, “super dead” according to Francesca Monte, the owner of Outwest T’s & Apparel.
Her sales are down 97% from this time last year.
Her computer software sent her a daily notice until she turned off the notification.
“My store is usually packed,” she said of traffic on an early June day before the coronavirus outbreak brought the tourism economy to a screeching halt.
“I’ve canceled all my orders,” she said of resupplying inventory.
“It’s nobody’s fault,” she said.
Monte has owned the store, which opened 30 years ago, for the past 11 years.
“Vacation rentals lost 80 % of their business. In May there were zero guests,” she said.
As for international tourists, “They’re not coming back anytime soon,” she said.
She’s hoping to generate at least 25% of her sales this year.
Presently, if you visit Yellowstone, “You have the park to yourself,” she said.
Monte explains that not having a timeline, with reopening dates and policies in flux, hurt most all. Tourists couldn’t plan a vacation to Yellowstone. The recently expired 14-day quarantine that eliminated out-of-state tourists was also a major blow.
Meanwhile, things are looking up for Heather Hardman at Paradise Adventure 大福彩票网. Hardman said they were starting to book trips now for July and August. The business offers guides for rafting, kayaking, horseback rides and fishing.
They opened the store on Monday but she said they’ve been getting inquiries by phone every day on their services the past few weeks.
The boardwalk along Gardiner’s Park Street is mostly empty while Annie Tan and Tony Chen, of Hollywood, Florida, drink coffee outside of Yellowstone Perk and Pharmacy on Gardiner’s Park Street.
The couple, who own a restaurant near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, drove north on vacation.
“Here I think there is less risk,” said Chen. “Here there is open space. That’s why I’m here.”
Chris Kramer, assistant manager of Yellowstone Perk and Pharmacy, said the tourism economy is “not even close to what it was last year.”
Opening the town to business is a “double-edged sword,” Kramer said.
“We want people to stay safe,” he said, but commenting on the local economy added, “A lot of people I know are hurting.”
Being the town’s only pharmacy, the business was an essential business and has remained open during the pandemic.
Libby Burke, an employee of the pharmacy, gift and coffee shop, was born and raised in Gardiner.
Burke returned to work serving coffee and ice cream three weeks ago. The store was mostly empty until a group came in Tuesday afternoon.
She said there is usually a line out the door this time of year.
The final stop before the park’s entrance is a small white trailer where Chloe Chase is selling ice cream at her new business, “Scoop! There it Is.”
“I definitely expected to see way more people,” Chase said.
She’s only on day two of her business.
Chase looks out her food trailer directly into the stone arch of the historic entrance and Electric Peak towering above and the green valley, with big, white puffy clouds against the Big Sky.
She believes the tourists will soon come.