Eclipse Business

Customers walk into the newly reopened Wonder Bar on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in downtown Casper. The renovated bar and restaurant is one of several businesses that opened just in time for the eclipse crowds.

Alan Rogers, Star-Tribune

The C’mon Inn Hotel had their first reservation for the upcoming solar eclipse four years ago. At the time, the staff had no idea what event the customer was talking about.

Although the hotel became completely booked for the eclipse two years ago, hotel employee Morgan Pangus feels that it is no different than a tournament weekend where the hotel is full due to teenage athletes.

The hotel is one of many local businesses already capitalizing on the boost in tourism and visitors for the upcoming eclipse weekend. Casper officials anticipate about 35,000 visitors and are kicking off festivities such as the Wyoming Eclipse Festival at the recently opened David Street Station downtown.

The Ramkota Hotel’s Director of Sales Karen East says they have been booked for the eclipse weekend for a year and a half. The hotel “doesn’t fill this time of year. Travel stops.” In preparation, the staff has been focusing on how to be “more conscientious” with international customers. East said that overall, the staff and people in town are preparing to enjoy the event and that “Casper is very blessed.”

Other businesses, like Metro Coffee Company have “not especially” been busy yet but are “preparing for the worst” by stocking up on ingredients, said coffee shop worker Nate Holloway.

Owner of Crescent Moon Coffee Stop, Makenzie Rothfuss has been seeing large tourist groups come in, including one group of 30 Italians. She said that the incoming business due to the eclipse is “good if you can keep up with it.” Her shop has also been preparing by overstocking and having extra staff members on hand.

Wyoming Shirt and Gift, however, has been selling eclipse merchandise since February. Store employee Hunter Bullard compared the store’s recent sales to Christmas, where $1,000 a day is made in December versus about $1,000 per hour now.

The Science Zone had 95 visitors on Wednesday compared to their normal 20 to 50 summer range. Worker Steven Schnell said that it “wasn’t normal” but hopes the eclipse will continue to increase business.

At Wyoming Camera Outfitters, there have been about 800 phone calls per day, according to worker Chris Luse. There has been an “influx on solar filter sales” and general camera equipment. The shop is hoping for more business with the upcoming Wyoming Photo Festival on Saturday and Sunday.

Vicki Burger, owner of Wind City Books, said there has been a “little uptick in business, but more is on the way.”

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