Bayfield Businesses Report Steady Sales as Pandemic Continues

From Lodging to Entertainment, Many Businesses in Bayfield Say Sales Have Remained Stable as the Pandemic Continues

BAYFIELD, Wis. – Nearly one year into the global pandemic and travel is still frowned upon by many health officials.

However, there is one silver lining when it comes to folks avoiding longer vacations.

Local businesses in Northland communities are seeing an increase in people taking smaller weekend getaways to escape for a few days.

“Outdoor rec is the name of the game right now,” said Paige Rautio, marketing director for the Bayfield Chamber & Visitor Bureau.

If you ask any of the locals in Bayfield or surrounding communities, there are a million and one ways to stay enthused, even during a health crisis.

“Bayfield is an awesome winter destination because we get snow earlier, we get more, and it lasts longer,” said Rautio.

She’s graced with the task of promoting this natural playground.

“We’ve got Mount Ashwabay and it’s honestly world-class Nordic trails that are well worth the trek over here,” said Rautio.

She says the trails, and activities in Northwest Wisconsin tend to sell themselves.

“The Nordic skiing opportunities are fantastic right now,” said Rautio.

For those looking to safely escape, Rautio says entertainment hasn’t changed, but traditions may have been tampered with due to COVID-19.

“Our main message to visitors is to not expect the same Bayfield that maybe you’ve experienced before. There are not as many restaurants open, there’s a few but maybe not as many as before,” said Rautio.

If you’re looking for the perfect one-stop-shop, David Barningham and his crew at Timber Baron Inn have you covered.

“It’s kind of funny, I didn’t even stay at a bed and breakfast until I owned one, so maybe I’m the wrong person to talk to,” said Barningham. “It’s nice that we have breakfast, with a lot of things shut down and restaurants not knowing what’s going on, it’s one less thing for people to worry about.”

His family opened up the bed and breakfast just four years ago – never thinking they’d have to weather a storm like COVID-19.

“It turned into a really good year for us,” said Barningham.

He believes their 40 acres and proximity to trails and even the sea caves is helping to drive customers through the doors of their four-room retreat.

“It seems like people are still eager to get out and do something,” said Barningham.

After a long day outdoors, you could turn the chapter and crawl into a good book by the fire.

“Our number one request from customers at this point is books that will help them escape,” said Kristen Sandstrom, manager of Apostle Island Booksellers.

Sandstrom is seeing sales soar at the business.

“Our customers from all over the country who love Bayfield made it a point to shop on our online store rather than anywhere else,” said Sandstrom.

From increased online sales to loyal local traffic, she’s satisfied to see so many people turning back to books.

“This year the weekends are busier. I think there are still people coming for a safe escape away from an urban area,” said Sandstrom.

And after a good day of outdoor adventures, there’s nothing more satisfying than a story that’ll take your mind off the chaos in today’s world.

“Outside of books, jigsaw puzzles have been huge in the last 10 months,” said Sandstrom.

She says it’s been uplifting to see youth ages 8 – 16 become more attached to physical books over the past year.

It’s also important to note, health officials in Bayfield County report a recent decline in new cases, but they are seeing more people struggling with longer-term symptoms from the virus.

Categories: Business, Community, News, News – Latest News, Wisconsin