Saturday February 9, 2013

Business owners are all smiles in the Deerfield Valley, as tourists come in before the big storm. Anticipating about two feet of snow, the valley welcomes Winter Storm Nemo. It will fill bare spots for snowmobile usage and add more snow to the nearby mountains like Mount Snow, Haystack and Stratton Mountain.

"They all came up last night," said Erika Holland, an employee of the Valley View Saloon in West Dover, which is a favorite restaurant and bar among locals and visitors. "They got good energy. Everyone is psyched about the storm."

Like the Valley View Saloon, the Maple Leaf Malt and Brewing Company, located at the intersection of Route 100 and Route 9 in Wilmington, was packed. Almost every table was filled with customers.

The owner told the Reformer that every weekend has been busy, but with more snow, it is bound to get even busier.

"I think it’s fantastic if we get what they’re saying," said Cliff Boushard, a bartender at the Old Red Mill Inn, which is also located by the intersection in Wilmington. "It would be busier if the storm happened midweek."

With President’s Week coming, businesses are rejoicing at the snowfall. Boushard said that it would certainly help the economy, citing all the cars in town Thursday night as evidence of the incoming travelers.

"It can only help for next week," said Boushard. "President’s Week is the busiest week of the winter."

He mentioned that some people from out of state, such as Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, may be nervous traveling in the storm.

One More Time, a bar and restaurant about five miles away from Mount Snow, was celebrating on Friday. It had a Nemo Party, starting at 4 p.m..

Pete Ripley, who owns Invasion Snowboard Shop in West Dover, told the Reformer that he was busier on Friday and the nearby Marketplace convenience store has been even busier, as has been the Silo Restaurant.

"At 8 o’clock, I went to the Marketplace," he said. "I’ve never seen so many people in line for beer at that time of the morning."

He went on to add that some roads were going to be shut down in Massachusetts, so there may not be that many more people coming up from that way.

"It’s going to make for a good weekend, but people who are scared to drive up tonight will be coming up next week," said Ripley. "It’s great for the town, it’s great for the businesses and it’s great for me. With the next few weekends, I think it’s going to be good. I hope this snow sticks for the next few weeks."

When asked about whether the weather worried them, employees and owners laughed.

"When you live in Vermont, you got to expect it," said Boushard. "You don’t panic."

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.