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Tourism Businesses Feel Impact Of Event Cancellations

WAOW Television

The Hodag Festival would have ended Sunday, but the event didn't take place this year. Local businesses are seeing the impact of event cancellations.

Robin Harrison, the owner of Revitalize Boutique and Art Gallery, opened her business in November of 2019. When COVID-19 hit, she was forced to close her business after just a few months.

"To have to close by the end of March was very hard," Harrison said.

But her business has also taken a hit with the cancellation of Hodag. It's one of the biggest events in the area and generates a sizable amount of revenue.

According to the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce, people taking a day trip that weekend will usually spend around $64. Overnight guests will spend $144 per day.

Lauren Sackett, the executive director of the chamber of commerce, said this summer hasn't been the same in terms of tourism.

"We are still seeing some tourists travelling up here, but it's certainly not to the numbers that our communities are used to," she said.

Sackett said the area has seen a steady amount of people travelling to use the water and recreation areas. She said those people have been spending money in area businesses.

But, she said businesses have still struggled, and it's too soon to tell just how much of an impact Hodag's cancellation will have.

"Hearing just from business owners, yes they were impacted, it was down compared to their typical weekend," Sackett said.

Harrison is worried about what the decrease in revenue will mean for her ability to remain open.

"I'm really praying that things pick up, not just for me but for all businesses downtown," she said.

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