PORT ANGELES — The Winter Ice Village is having a banner season, according to the executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Executive Director Marc Abshire said during a State of the Chamber address Wednesday that ticket sales were up nearly 30 percent at the Winter Ice Village through Dec. 30, and that the second-year downtown attraction is staying open two weeks longer this year.
The Ice Village at 121 W. First St. will be open daily through Jan. 20.
The success of the Winter Ice Village has helped the chamber pay off its remaining debt and enter the new year with $840,000 in projected revenue, Abshire said.
“We expect about 18,000 attendees this year,” Abshire told about 75 chamber members at the Port Angeles Red Lion Hotel.
“Last year, we had around 14,000.”
Abshire said 13,231 skate sessions were recorded through Dec. 30, up from 10,549 through Dec. 30, 2018.
The Ice Village had generated $115,186 in ticket sales through Dec. 30, a 29-percent increase from the $88,717 in sales through Dec. 30, 2018.
“Since we’re staying open two weeks longer, we should generally have quite a bit more revenue, which we need because it’s also more expensive this year,” Abshire said, referring to a larger skating rink that the chamber leases.
Volunteers this season have filled 850 four-hour shifts to make the Winter Ice Village possible, Abshire said.
“It’s an economic activity to grow the economy in downtown Port Angeles, but it’s also community-building activity,” Abshire said.
“It’s amazing, wonderful and fun to watch all these kids, especially the little one, down there skating.”
Abshire, who had a black eye from falling on the ice on Christmas Eve, said the Ice Village has encouraged neighboring businesses to stay open longer this year.
The chamber will consider purchasing a rink for future iterations of the Winter Ice Village, Abshire said.
“We are thinking about investing in purchasing rather than leasing,” Abshire said in response to a Kaj Ahlburg’s question.
“I believe that the purchase price is equivalent to about three seasons. So it’s one of those things where if you’re going to go past three seasons, it makes sense to go ahead and buy it because then you start saving the money after the third season. I’ll know more when we dive into that.”
Abshire provided a breakdown of the chamber’s financial performance.
The organization paid off a $23,298 debt last year and projects to have a $38,000 profit in 2020.
The chamber’s budget has grown considerably since 2016 due to expanding such productions as cruise stops and Ride the Hurricane and adding the Winter Ice Village, Abshire said.
The chamber’s income was $281,000 in 2016, $311,000 in 2017, $634,000 in 2018 and $665,000 last year, according to a slide.
“All of those (productions) are revenue generators,” Abshire said.
“They also come with expenses. You manage that so that you end up making money rather than losing money.”
“So it’s going really well at the Chamber of Commerce,” Abshire added.
The chamber has 429 members. About 12 percent of its income comes from membership dues.
“This is not your typical Chamber of Commerce on purpose,” Abshire said.
”We have a vision to be a lot more like the Chamber of Commerce in Port Angeles was in 1915 when guys like Lauridsen and Aldwell were active board members.
“The chamber was actually making a big difference in capital ways in this town,” Abshire said.
“This chamber is heading in that direction.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].
Terry Ward, publisher of the Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum, serves on the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce board of directors.