Fur Rondy's Economic Impact (2012)
Downtown businesses thrive during Rondy
ANCHORAGE - It's the biggest winter festival in the state, but Fur Rendezvous organizers said the festival's success lies in the small things.
"When all of a sudden you find out you've got 15,000 people at the Running of the Reindeer, think how many reindeer sausage hotdogs are going to be eaten that day," Gary Hufford, president of the Fur Rondy board, said.
When event organizers last studied the economic impact of Fur Rendezvous several years ago, Hufford said they arrived $20 million.
"It is a big number, but you start thinking of the number of people, the expense of people here, they're coming for ten days and they're coming in from all over," said Hufford.
Those travelers include Jimmy Wong, who traveled to Anchorage from Hawaii and has seen firsthand the major increase in business that comes hand-in-hand with the Rondy spirit.
"I just came in yesterday, [and] got a report from my staff saying they've done very well last week," said the 89-year-old businessman, who owns several properties along Fourth Avenue including the Sunshine Plaza and Marketplace. While he usually has about 30 tenants, he said that number doubles every year during the winter festival.
"I think it's very important,'" Wong said. "I think that Anchorage should really do more of this to begin with."
He said his buildings are filled with souvenir shops, craftsmen and food vendors hungry for a bite at the annual upswing in business.