Between May when the weather gets warm and when it starts to get cold in November, the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) brings thousands of potential customers through the towns along it’s length. During peak summer months and holiday weekends tourist destinations like Ohiopyle can be awash with visitors and their dollars. Finding ways to maintain and increase this seasonal traffic is a great way to increase profits, but the problem becomes what to do during those months of the off-season. For established businesses strong local patronage during the trail season is a bonus and the off-season brings slower but still good levels of business. The issue is really for those businesses that depend on the trail customers.
Many businesses simply close during the off-season. This is a good option. It cuts costs but also halts profits, and it means that you have to be sure that you are making enough money during the season. If you can find a way to expand your season or your market it will improve your over all profits.
The Confluence House (http://www.theconfluencehouse.com/), a guest house in Confluence PA is a great example of how diversifying your business can provide a longer and more consistent business season. Fred and Sandy Younkin operate a wine store as well as the bed and breakfast which brings in additional business and since locals buy the wine as well extends their profit making season. Even better, they have their restaurant license, which not only allows them to offer additional amenities to their guests but to have a catering business on the side. Because they cater year round they never truly have an off season. If your business situation can allow it this can be a great way to expand your profits and your profit making season.
You will have to spend a little bit more money in order to make money for this next idea, but investing in your community really can pay back. Big festivals and cultural events can become popular outside of your immediate community and bring customers in even in the off season. State College PA in not a trail town, but it is a town with a singular source of business, the college. Even so, the streets packs full in the summer for the annual arts fest and in the winter for the New Years celebrations. Both of these events draw huge crowds and both are at times of the year when the towns usual population of students are home for the semester. Investing time, money, and promoting local events in the off season can create a tradition that will keep business flowing even when it would other wise be slow.
What do you do create a second season for your business? Send your thoughts and coments to firstname.lastname@example.org.