View Full Version : UP economy ???
10-10-2009, 10:45 PM
My wife and I spent the last few days in the UP taken in the sites. Our trip covered the UP from tip to tip from west to east. I was shocked to see so MANY motels, resturants, and shops closed for good with for sale signs on them or just grown over with weeds.
Never like to see anyone in hard times. Do you think this is due to the local economy or the lack of tourists in the last year?
Anyway, we enjoyed our trip and did the best we could in trying to help the local economy. Eric
10-11-2009, 02:10 AM
The last couple years have taken its toll on the UP. Especially the snowmobile tourists. With the snow so good in southern WI and so forth people weren't making the 5-6 hour trips to the UP. Instead they were racking up 1000's of local miles that had been so hard to come by. Unfortunately, it became the perfect storm that claimed victim to many mom and pop businesses that didn't have to deep pockets to absorb the loses. It's extremely unfortunate.
10-11-2009, 09:16 AM
There are also a lot of people from Southern Wi, and Ill that also lost their jobs and cannot afford to go to the UP or Northern WI anymore! Luckily I am not one but our group used to have 6-8 guys everytrip and now we only have 4-5! Hopefully times will change.
I rode in Sauk County, Wi, first time ever last season. Haven't been to the UP the last 2 seasons,but I did buy a trail permit each year and I belong to the MSA. Just didn't get up there. I think the economy took a hit everywhere. Stayed at the Derby Inn in Eagle River mid week in late January and and we were the only snowmobiles there for three days.
10-11-2009, 11:29 AM
I think the very high price of gas last summer and lots of snow everywhere last winter probably was the nail in the coffin for many places. This summer was a short one due to the weather. We have a friend who owns a motel in the eastern UP and she said that's what did her in. She'll be closing the doors any day now and moving away, very sad for lot's of folks who poured their hard earned $$ and now have nothing.
10-11-2009, 01:29 PM
I was in Grand Marais in May and I noticd a little sandwich shop that was closed up. My dad told me the owners had to start selling off appliances just to make ends meet. Very Sad indeed,
10-11-2009, 02:26 PM
But according to VP Joe Bidden the stimulus is working great.
10-11-2009, 02:34 PM
VP says he's NEVER seen anything like it. Its a success!
10-11-2009, 02:41 PM
You need to call ahead in UP to make sure bar /grill, gas station, motel & whatever else you need is still open. Things changed week to week last winter but some did pick up the slack like Kontecka investing in a gas tank when all gas stations in Sliver City & White Pine closed for good. Yep a lot of weeds growing around closed Ma & Pa enities. You just saw recently what has been ongoing for 2-3 years in the UP.
10-12-2009, 10:18 AM
We noticed this last year, especially on the eastern end. There were very few paces open in January when we were up around Pine Stump Junction area north of Newberry and Grand Marais.
10-12-2009, 11:38 AM
There are really two economies going on in the U.P.
One is local business from those who live there and one is the tourist trade. They do spill over some but tourism is cyclical, at best and you need to compute this in when you open a business up there.
As anywhere else, if you plan on going to God's country to make a living, you better be prepared to do multiple jobs, working one or several as time dictates and necessity allows.
But just like anywhere else, you can create your own demand by making your whereabouts known, putting packages together that are fun, interesting or inexpensive and making sure that you target the right groups and let them know you are on the map.
Then you still need luck....even a farmer knows that the weather can cross you up and spit you out if you don't prepare for such contingencies.
Life is nothing, if it doesn't have the ups and downs, so you know when you are actually having an up time!
Never forget that expectations can be unrealistic for those who don't prepare for this when they move up there.
Lastly we usually dwell on the hard things and forget that God's country is sparsely populated for a reason....and the further north you go the sparser it gets...there is a reason for that...not everyone is cut out for a life like this, and surely not everyone can realize that they have it good when they are spending so much time just making ends meet.
10-13-2009, 05:24 PM
Yes, the UP has been affected as has most of the country. It is hard to tell with the closed signs for many reasons. Some have closed permanently while others close from Labor Day until December. Between the busier seasons they may close just for a shorter period of time to take a vacation themselves but still need to hang a closed sign and will remove the closed sign when they return home or at least before the onset of the next busy season. There are some seasonal business-s that are open from the beginning of May until Christmas.
The For Sale signs are for different reasons, also. Some due to the economy and not saving enough cushion to get thru the slow months if the business is open year round. Also, operating expenses keep rising just like the homeowners. It can also be due to health issues or retirement years.
When we put our For Sale up, we were asked "why" and its a simple answer-Richard is pushing age 72 and I am close behind. I think we are past retirement.
The UP is definately tourism majority. Yes, snowmobile season can be affected if we share our snow with other areas but that means you are getting more enjoyment from the cost of your sleds and that is not all bad. And I agree with Booondocker-local business is extremely important.
Like booondocker said "it takes some bad times to make us appreciate the good." but it is not always easy to bounce back. Any business in any area is needy to owner dedication.
Just my 2cents worth or maybe this is 20cents worth. LOL
10-13-2009, 09:17 PM
Well said Sandy!! I have stayed at your place in years past. I regularly ride 3000+ miles in the UP each year on top of the miles I ride in my local area south of Alpena MI.
The group I ride with always makes it a priority to backpack ride the entire UP every season because there is nowhere else like it anywhere!!
I hope those of you that can hang on through the bad times, do so. A better time is coming!!
I was very happy to see last weekend when my wife and I came up to leaf peep the Keweenaw, that someone had bought and reopened the nice motel in Christmas next to the casino. They even have the gas pumps up and running again!!
Thats a good sign. Hope to see more of this soon all across the UP
10-14-2009, 09:38 AM
I agree, the great snow season in Lower Michigan last year stopped us from taking our normal Munising and Paradise trips. You know if it gets crappy down here we will be back!
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