Wednesday marked Rhonda Duggan’s final Mammoth Lakes Tourism board meeting, with her colleagues sending her off with well wishes and thanking her for her time of service to the non-profit.
Four candidates were in consideration to replace Duggan: Ryan Urban of Eastern Sierra Wholesalers, Doug Ganz of Mammoth Holistics, Silver Chesak of Footloose Sports, and Larry Crabb with the Mammoth Shirt Co. and Eastern Sierra Mountain Club.
The nominating committee was Michael Ledesma, Jeremy Goico, and Pat Foster.
According to the committee’s report, Urban expressed interest initially but then effectively ghosted the group, Ganz’s inquiry came after the April 9th deadline, and Chesak ultimately opted to continue to focus on the Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access Foundation, which left Crabb as the clear frontrunner.
A few quick points from the report:
-Crabb has been in the apparel industry for 45 years and started with Levi Strauss
-He now works with wholesalers on private label
-His current business brings him into contact with peer mountain resort towns mountain resort towns
-Per his introductory email:
“My family and I moved to Mammoth Lakes 3 years ago to help set up a retail business in The Village at Mammoth. For my wife Karen and I, this was intended to be a temporary stay to help our sons apply their recent college business studies in real life. We quickly found the town and its people welcoming, the business interesting and fulfilling in serving the visitors, and so we decided to stay. Following this first successful venture with the boys, we have opened another retail business in The Village.” Crabb’s tenure with the board begins in July.
In other news …
Board Chair John Morris was nominated again to represent the lodging community on the MLT board.
Board positions and committee selections were postponed.
MLT Executive Director John Urdi announced that, given the anticipated changes to Covid-19 gathering regulations due June 15, the $150,000 special events budget would be spent during the ‘20-’21 Fiscal Year instead of carrying over to FY 21-22. $200,000 will be designated for event grants in the next year.
The $150,000 deficit in the 21-22 budget will be backfilled by savings, redistribution, or directly from reserves, Urdi said.
The Events Director position, vacant since Caroline Casey left that role last summer, has been filled in-house by Digital Marketing Coordinator Dakota Snider, who has been tapped to handle events going forward. The move will leave MLT needing to fill his former role with the NGO (non-governmental organization).
Year-to-date TOT collections have topped $14 million, and are currently 38% over what was budgeted; April 2021 TOT came in at about $1.7 million, 119% to budget. Urdi said that the figure came in approximately $30,000 short of setting a new record.
TBID came in $430,603 in April, $159,718 and 59% over budget. The year-to-date collections through April sit at approximately $3.8 million, $782,038 and 26% over budget.
While both TOT and TBID are behind the previous year’s figures, there are still two months of expected gains to make up that difference.
Sales and International Marketing Director Michael Vanderhurst said that the international travel market is set to begin reopening soon, with foreign visitors potentially arriving in the late summer-autumn period and a definite return for the winter season.
On the domestic side, Vanderhurst said that MLT has been pitching the fall shoulder months particularly hard.
Public Relations and Communications Director Lara Kaylor said that media visits are coming back, with the added caveat that sustainable recreation and responsible tourism are musts in anything published about Mammoth Lakes and the surrounding area.