Published May 1, 2005 | May 2005 issue
We've seen a significant increase in the Canadian traffic. ... We don't have a real precise way of measuring Canadian traffic other than the license plates in the parking lot, and then we do a Canadian exchange at our customer service office, and that's been utilized probably tenfold of what it was maybe two years ago. We also just opened up a hotel which is actually physically attached to the mall, and the Canadians probably have been [its] number-one focus group of customers. The last 10 days of March the hotel was sold out every night, and probably about 80 percent of those were Canadians.
Chuck Massey, Mall Manager
Dakota Square Mall—Minot, N.D.
The only [change] in business that we've seen from Canada is after 9-11 it just shot straight down. And we lost a lot of business that way. And it's slowly coming back. It's been getting better and better. I wouldn't say that it's made a complete comeback by any means, but it is making a comeback a little bit. I can honestly say that the dollar fluctuation hasn't made a difference.
James Hazley, Assistant Manager
Holiday Gas Station—Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
The weak dollar has definitely helped us offshore in countries such as Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, in Europe. I say a lesser extent because we have manufacturing facilities in Europe. So we build in some of the new European Union countries, like Czech Republic, Poland and whatnot. Our costs there are quite low from a manufacturing standpoint, so we're not able to take advantage of that weak U.S. dollar to strong euro as much as some companies have potentially done here in the last year or so.
Kevin Bakke, Vice President and General Manager
Genesis Attachments LLC—Superior, Wis.
In the past 10 years there have been a number of offshore companies that have penetrated the U.S. market and developed significant market share due to a number of factors, including the strength of the dollar relative to some foreign currencies, low labor rates and the imbalance in import/export tariffs. The [recent] falling dollar has put us in a much more favorable environment as it relates to pricing and has increased our gross margins as a result. It has also allowed us to penetrate the export market with our products.
Mike Johnson, VP Sales & Marketing
Kolberg-Pioneer Inc. and JCI Inc.—Yankton, S.D.
It's certainly created uncertainty for us regarding our costing. And as a wholesaler, we've locked in to a certain degree ... with a catalog that we print in January. ... [A]s the dollar falls, this certainly has a negative impact on our profitability. ... [W]e can't pass it on incrementally every time we see an incremental drop in the dollar. Every once in a while, we can do maybe a major change to our pricing. But we can't do anything else incremental. So we take these incremental hits to profitability, and then we can recoup, say, every six months or so.
Steve Flagg, President/Owner
Quality Bicycle Products—Bloomington, Minn.
I have seen a ton [of international travelers]. And, I think just from hearing other people talk that there are more than usual. I know that we had a huge group of students from Peru and Colombia come up and work all season, which I don't think typically happens.
Anne Borer, Membership and Programs Coordinator