It was a decision most of us knew was coming; The 2020 National Cherry Festival has been canceled. While this was clearly the smart move from a public health perspective, the repercussions of this decision will echo through our community and our local economy long after the announcement has stopped ringing in our ears.
To be fair, there are members of the Traverse City community who’ve had a mixed view of the festival for a long time. The first week of July has transformed from a small local festival to a major event that attracts national sponsors, more than 500,000 visitors, and the problems that come along with bringing half million people into a town where there are only about 17,000 full-time residents in the city limits.
Cherry Festival = Big $$$ For Local Business
Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying the one thing the National Cherry Festival does bring a lot of to our area every year: dollars. In an economy built on service industries and tourism, losing out on the major annual draw to our fair city means that businesses in the area who depend on these visitors are left wondering how they’ll make ends meet.
“The packed sidewalks and ringing cash registers of the first week of July are not going to come this year, which also means that the workers in those shops, the servers in the restaurants, the front desk managers at the hotels, and many more will be left without the business they expected. We reached out to Gary & Allison Jonas, owners of downtown staple The Little Fleet for their thoughts on the cancellation. Here’s what they had to say:
“When we heard the news about Cherryfest being canceled, it confirmed what we were already feeling; this is going to be a very different summer for all of us in Northern Michigan. But, we feel very proud of our community for making hard decisions to keep [everyone] safe. We’re hoping that maybe by taking a pause on Cherryfest this year, we as a community (and business owners) might be able to think on ways to make the festival more supportive of our downtown merchants and a better reflection [of] what we all love about our city.”
Will the Traverse City Housing Market Dip?
How does this affect the Traverse City housing market? Well, for starters, it’s pretty common for first-time visitors to our area to come, fall in love, and decide they want to stay. It’s safe to assume that the number of vacationers who decide they want to make Northern Michigan their home is going to be low this year.
Secondly, the business owners who operate the key establishments in our area are going to have less capital to invest back in our area. We know, that sounds like a first-world problem, but this affects all of us. Business owners who had plans to start new businesses, purchase income properties, or use that money to hire new employees can’t do so now.
And finally, the servers, shop clerks, and everyone in between who are working on the customer service front lines of our tourism industry are going to have less in the way of tips, overtime, and overall job security. This contraction of available cash is going make it harder for people to buy homes, harder for people to make their rent, harder to even qualify for a mortgage if they did want to buy.
Will these effects last forever? Thankfully no. Hopefully, things will start trending back towards normal when travel and tourism resume, when the economy gets back on track, and when big events like the National Cherry Festival resume, bringing more dollars back into our community. But, there will be a recovery period. Just like economies all over the country, coming back from this won’t be like flipping a light switch. The Traverse City housing market is going to experience some downstream contraction from losing out on a Cherry Festival, but hopefully not for too long.
Bringing It All Together
Just because The Cherry Festival has been canceled and we’re all still at home doesn’t mean that real estate isn’t happening. The Brick & Corbett team is still working hard every day to serve clients, answer their real estate questions, conduct virtual showings, write offers, and close deals. If you have a question about buying or selling a home in Northern Michigan, Brick & Corbett would love to help.