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Recession hits holiday parties

Kirk Caraway
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada AppealPlaza Hotel and Conference Center staff, from left, Norma Gonzalez, Martin Garcia and Debbie Coyle set up for an office Christmas party Wednesday at the Supreme Court. Some businesses and state agencies have cut back on holiday parties due to current economic conditions, having a further ripple effect on local caterers and restaurants.
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While some businesses and government agencies are crying “bah humbug” when it comes to throwing holiday parties for their employees, there’s enough festivities taking place to keep restaurants and caterers busy.

“We’ve been very fortunate, and very busy with a lot of parties,” said Vicki Shell, general manager of Glen Eagles restaurant, while acknowledging it’s been a little slower than previous years.

“We had a great season considering. We are grateful for everyone who walks in the door.”

Scott Doerr, owner of B’sghetti’s in downtown Carson City, also noted that business is a little soft.

“We had several state agencies that had booked parties that had to cancel due to the recent budget cuts,” Doerr said. “Weekends are booked, but the weekdays aren’t booked like they were in previous years.”

Doerr said they are also noticing groups are more budget-conscious this year, going for appetizers and finger food instead of full sit-down dinners.They are also doing more catering outside of the restaurant.

“We are going to them, instead of them coming to us,” Doerr said.

Also a factor is the closing of the Station Grille in October. The restaurant featured a large banquet room and was a popular place for holiday parties. Now, some of those parties are going other places.

“Our business is about 50/50 this year,” said Cindy Perry, director of sales for the Plaza Hotel and Conference Center. “We’ve seen a decline with some canceling parties, but saw some new ones come in because of other places that have closed down.”

Perry said she knows that overall, holiday parties are “definitely down.”

“Some of my clients from last year aren’t having parties because they can’t afford it,” she said.

While businesses and agencies might be scaling back due to the recession, young people are still partying like it’s 1999. Plan B, the new dance club Doerr opened inside B’sghetti’s, “has been extremely busy with our younger clientele,” Doerr said. “They don’t seem to notice the recession much.”