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Flanagan’s owner John Kenworthy: snow drove best December ever

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Parker Malatesta
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Outside Flanagan's On Main in Park City.

Record snow in Park City is driving record sales on Main Street.

John Kenworthy, owner of Flanagan’s on Main, said 2022 ended with a bang based on December sales numbers.

“As far as Main Street goes, my neighbors and I have seen a record month," Kenworthy said. "And there’s no secret to it, it’s the magic of snow.”

He told KPCW’s Mountain Money on Monday that the strong economic activity occurred up and down Main Street, including art galleries and jewelry stores.

“Best ever December, and I know that city councilwoman Tana Toly was telling me that Red Banjo had one of their best days ever last Monday," he said.

"And I know they’re up record numbers for December. I know Shabu… they’re having their best month. And then of course No Name just keeps being No Name… the bar that made Park City famous.”

Kenworthy said he was surprised when he saw the Park City Chamber/Bureau report that hotel bookings were down roughly 20% for December. Looking at high traffic levels around town recently, he said he thinks short-term rentals are making up the difference.

“We aren’t allowed to monitor Airbnb," Kenworthy said.

"Now you take snow - record snow - and then you take the demographic that uses Airbnb, and you say “here we go.” The powder dogs, they’re coming up, and they’re not staying in our hotels.”

Kenworthy emphasized that surging ski pass sales along with the migration boom Utah has seen in recent years, particularly in Wasatch County, are driving strong local visitation.

“Let’s remember - the new business model - selling these all-you-can-eat passes," he said. "We are within a million people, an hour's drive here. You just got to keep stacking all these bricks to get a true view of what’s going on.”

Park City’s general plan signals that Main Street is the heart of town. Kenworthy said he expects that to be challenged in the future.

“We have billion-dollar developments surrounding us now that want to keep their customers at their casinos playing at the tables longer, not sending them off to Main Street,” he said.

Kenworthy sits on Park City’s planning commission, and will have a say as big projects like Deer Valley’s Snow Park redevelopment are reviewed. He said one element stands out as the commission looks ahead.

“We live or die on the hill of transportation," he said.

"The transportation has got to get solved. Transportation is the skeleton that we can build on with affordable housing, with so much here to serve these new resort business models. We have got to do some transformative transportation planning and do it now.”

For now, Kenworthy said to expect Park City to remain busy.

“We’re in a tidal wave. We have to plan for it.”

Parker Malatesta covers Park City for KPCW. Before coming to NPR, he spent one year as a general assignment reporter for TownLift in Park City. He previously was the news editor at The News Record, the student paper at the University of Cincinnati. He loves running, reading, and urban planning.