Bringing in thousands of guests from out of town for a five-day auction had a hefty economic impact last week on area hotels and restaurants.
Heartland Livestock Services has hosted the Midwest Stud Ram Sale at the Missouri State Fairgrounds for the last two decades, and this year had a more than $2 million impact on the local commerce.
“The stores, the retailers, the restaurants had a major impact for Sedalia as far as that goes,” said Angie Thomas, executive director of the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce. “They stay in our local hotels and shop. They’re here for a good piece of time, so they spend their tax dollars here in Sedalia, and that always helps our economy, and it helps sales for all of our businesses.”
Ethan Richardson, manager of Fitter’s 5th Street Pub, said they’re up in sales for the quarter this year and are also up in the new quarter this summer.
“We do see quite a bit of new faces in here throughout the summer,” Richardson said. “A lot of people look us up on Trip Advisor and things like that. We do see quite a bit of new faces whenever events are in town.
“Seems like every weekend there’s something going on, and it brings a lot of people from out of town, and our local customers still come in, and they’ve been supporting us the last three and a half years. It’s great that Sedalia has so many events put on that draw in out-of-towners,” Richardson added.
Local hotel managers said they get booked up for this event as early as a year in advance.
Crystal Mitchell, manager at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, said she estimated 90 percent of their 76 rooms were booked for the Midwest Stud Ram Sale.
“We’ll take reservations starting in July,” Mitchell said. “As of July 15, we were booked out within a week. It’s about as big as the state fair.”
Mitchell said they’ve housed guests for the auction every year since they opened in 2008, and while sometimes there might be conflicts, it generally goes smoothly.
“It’s a positive group that comes through, and that’s always nice to have once a year,” Mitchell said. “It’s actually really good for the whole town of Sedalia. Not just the hotels, you have the restaurants and gas stations. Everybody benefits from it.”
Mykel Schlotterbeck, owner of Comfort Inn Sedalia Station, said this is the 17th year they’ve housed guests from the auction.
“Some of them have stayed every year we’ve been open,” Schlotterbeck said. “We book a year in advance and other than that, we know they’re coming so we staff appropriately to accommodate all of the guests.”
Schlotterbeck was invited to the Heartland team’s meet-and-greet Wednesday, but she couldn’t attend because she had to work that evening. Nevertheless, she said she is glad to host their stay at the Comfort Inn.
“We’re glad that they’re here, and we hope they return for many years to come,” Schlotterbeck said.
The Heartland team invited Mayor Stephen Galliher, state Rep. Nathan Beard and about 30 members of the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce for their meet-and-greet in the Swine Pavilion.
Carolyn Crooker, executive director of the Sedalia Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, said it was humbling to mingle with the Heartland team because they bring in such an economic impact on area businesses.
“They bring in visitors from all over the United States, and they stay here for a week, and it fills our restaurant seats,” Crooker said. “They use all of our hotel rooms and buy so much gas and other things while they’re here, and it’s just kind of humbling because not only do we get treated like royalty, they thanked us over the PA.
“It was kind of an exciting thing for us. This is our niche.”
Thomas said they were happy to have the Heartland team host their auction at the fairgrounds again this year.
“They can choose anywhere they want, and they’ve been coming here for several years,” Thomas said. “And the Missouri State Fair is just awesome to work with and to have that location.”
Karey Claghorn, treasurer of Heartland Livestock Services, said they presented the 2015 William Doak Special Achievement Award to the City of Sedalia. Thomas and Crooker represented the city as recipients of the award.
“We recognize people who make a contribution to the success of the sale, and certainly the Chamber and Visitors Bureau did a great job in helping us with the sale,” Claghorn said.
Crooker said she was surprised to be presented with the award.
“We had a good representation, and actually when I sent a thank you card to the team for getting the award and how they honored us, I did get a response back that we brought quite an entourage,” Crooker said. “It was really nice that they recognized us and our community.
“This is not the first time the award has been given, but it’s the first time the award has been given to Sedalia.”