Jennifer Terman

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January 15, 2013
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Businesses give economic impact of Wild and Scenic mixed reviews

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival, which concluded its 11th three-day event Sunday, brought an increase in traffic into Grass Valley and Nevada City, positively impacting lodging facilities and some restaurants.

“I think it was great,” said Cathy Whittlesey, executive director of Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. “There were lots of tickets sold. The wine stroll was successful. I know a lot of restaurants and probably cocktail lounges and lodging facilities went well.”

Because of the festival’s first year of expanding into Grass Valley, the downtown experienced an increase in business, said Julia Jordan, executive director of the Grass Valley Downtown Association.

“I know it was busier than last year,” Jordan said. “By including Grass Valley, it gave us an opportunity for more traffic than a normal weekend.”

Local inns and hotels prospered from the increased traffic.

“It was absolutely great,” said Meg Franz of Nevada City’s Outside Inn. “We were definitely booked all weekend because of the film festival.”

The Outside Inn is already nearly booked for next year’s festival, Franz said.

“I know they’ve already booked rooms for next year because of it,” Franz said. “There’s a lot of repeat business.”

Reviews were somewhat mixed for retail and even dining establishments, however.

“It’s an absolutely fabulous festival, hordes of people come into town, and it’s incredible,” said Teresa Mann, owner of Nevada City retail store JJ Jackson’s. “But typically on a weekend such as this, the focus is on films and people are coming in to see films, so I think the bars and restaurants do well, but a retail shop doesn’t do exceptionally well.”

Some said they have seen an increase in sales over time.

“I’ve been working here for nine years since (the film festival) started,” said Francheska Alexander of Mowen Solinsky Gallery, which has been the opening destination for the festival every year. “I’ve seen an increase in sales, and it’s a wonderful group of people who attend.”

Business was the same as usual or slightly improved over the weekend, according to various restaurants.

“A lot of people came out, so I’m very happy,” said Nikko Wu, owner of Stonehouse in Nevada City. “There were more people wandering last year, I think, because it was warmer.”

Some businesses — such as Sopa Thai Cuisine in Nevada City — said the flow of customers was inconsistent.

“Friday and Saturday were very good,” said Sopa Thai manager Nok Bezker. “Sunday was kind of unexpected and not that busy.”

Cirino’s in Nevada City reported higher sales during the weekend, but that could have been from the restaurant’s anticipated closure, said Cirino’s bartender Morgan Avilla.

Pete’s Pizza also reported an increase in business Friday and decent sales Saturday.

“Last year was definitely more busy and hectic,” said Palmer Holt, a cook at Pete’s Pizza. “The drum circle brought in a lot more business.”

Some restaurants could not tell a difference from normal sales.

“I don’t know really whether it affected us much at all,” said Steve Graham, owner of Owl Grill and Saloon in Grass Valley. “We did have a couple people talking about movies, but I’m not sure how much it affected us.”

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call (530) 477-4230.

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The Union Updated Feb 8, 2013 03:54PM Published Jan 16, 2013 01:39AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.