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Utah businesses would host Olympics again



Chamber representatives impressed by positive post-Olympic mood in Salt Lake City, Park City

Even the naysayers ended up believing the February Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games were a good thing.

"There was nobody who said they wouldn’t have wanted them again," said Whistler Chamber of Commerce member Bob Adams.

"There was 100 per cent support, and we talked to a lot of people."

Adams, owner of the Grocery Store and Market Catering, has just returned, along with chamber chair John Nadeau, from a fact-finding mission to Salt Lake to study the impact the Games had on businesses there.

Said Nadeau: "We asked the question, ‘Would you do it again?’ and almost without exception everyone said yes.

"It was like aliens had come down and snapped up anyone who had negative thoughts. We looked. We really looked. We walked off the beaten track, (the support) was pretty unbelievable, and it started from when we got on the plane."

Both found the trip, sponsored by the Vancouver Whistler 2010 Olympic Bid Committee, a valuable tool in helping to assess how a Winter Games might impact the resort.

"Our role was to determine what the impact of the Olympics might be so that we could report back to our board and membership, and ultimately to either recommend or not recommend our involvement," said Adams who believes the Olympics would be a good thing for Whistler.

He found the Games really boosted the psyche of the whole community in Utah, giving it a renewed sense of community pride which even extended to those who did not do as well as they hoped during the Games.

Both Adams and Nadeau spoke to a range of people affected by the Games from those on the front lines in restaurants and hotels to Olympic organizers.

One lesson was clear: if businesses wanted to succeed during the Games they had to plan for them.

Adams spoke to the owner of a cross-country rental and clothing store in Park City and learned that her success was due to a change in direction for her business.

"She analyzed it and she thought people who come in are not going to be cross country skiing," said Adams.

"So she thought about what are the needs of these people would be. They needed to be comfortable and warm. So she pulled in some really nice clothing, some mittens, some booties, boots, and she brought in foamy chairs that you put on the bleachers, and her business was very successful."

The success of two art galleries also impressed Adams and Nadeau.