Incline Village business owners reacts to life without the Ponderosa Ranch
September 8, 2005
Sunday marks one year since the Ponderosa Ranch closed its gates for the last time. Whether its closing has impacted Incline’s economy is still open to question, according to Incline Village/Crystal Bay Director Bill Hoffman.
“I guess if you look at pure numbers of visitors to this area, you’d have to say there was no impact,” Hoffman said. “If this past summer was not a record, it was pretty close to it. The Ponderosa was one of those places that people didn’t come specifically to see, but ended up going to in the course of their visit.”
Hoffman also said he feels that the absence of the ranch as an attraction could be something that’s felt by the village down the road.
“A lot of people, from five to 20 a day, come by asking why the ranch is closed. They say they didn’t know and are disappointed,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman said there were some visitors who did come over to see the ranch, and it’s those people who may not return to this side of the lake for that reason.
“It was once the people got here that they found out,” Hoffman said. “Whether these people return is another question and I think we have to pick up the slack if we want those visitors to return.”
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Liz Jeffers of the Incline Village/Crystal Bay Chamber of Commerce agreed that, while the Ponderosa was not always a visitor’s prime destination, “(People) usually went there in the course of a visit to the area.”
Local merchants said that several tourists had approached them about the ranch, some not aware that it had been closed.
Carolyn Prchal, who has worked at the Tahoe Store for more than five years, said she hasn’t really noticed much difference other than the attitude of some visitors who came looking for the attraction.
“People who didn’t know about the ranch closing have been disappointed,” she said. “But I haven’t really noticed a decrease in business.”
Tinsel Town owner Eddie Almeyda thinks the absence of the ranch has affected his store.
“Oh sure, we have a lot less tourists now,” Almeyda said. “When the ranch had their breakfast rides, people would come from all over the lake and after would come into town. Now we don’t see as much.”
Former Ponderosa co-owner, David Geddes, said his feelings about the first summer without the responsibility of running the 36-year-old attraction were mixed.
“It was a lot of work and we put a lot of our time into it,” Geddes said.
“So, to not have to deal with it is a big relief. On the other hand, there were certain fun aspects of doing business, like the breakfast rides and I have to admit when I drive past the property now and it’s like eight in the morning, I think that last year at this time, I was getting people up the hill for breakfast.”