Biz Buzz: Room revenue holding its own

The latest tourism statistics for San Luis Obispo County offer a bit of sunshine amid the continued economic gloom.

Revenue per available hotel room — the standard that tourism officials say most accurately reflects tourism dollars — was $95.22 in August, down 8.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

That was the second best report in the state, behind Eureka, which at $74.09 was down 3.9 percent, according to the California Travel and Tourism Commission.

And the county is steadily improving, said John Summer, executive director of the San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau.

From January through August, the county’s revenue per available hotel room was $69.76 — a 6 percent drop year-over-year. That’s significantly better than other key markets in California.

So far this year, the Santa Barbara/Santa Maria area reported revenue per available hotel room at $91.36, down 15.5 percent, and Monterey reported $88.91, down 20 percent. The state overall is down 21.5 percent.

“We are holding up pretty darn well, all things considered,’’ Summer said.

Looking ahead, he added, the bureau thinks San Luis Obispo County will continue to fare better than its surrounding competing regions.

— Tribune staff report

Foothill McDonald’s closing next week

After 40 years, the McDonald’s restaurant on Foothill Boulevard near the Cal Poly campus will close at 2 p.m. on Thursday.

All 25 part-time and full-time employees will be transferred to the company’s other six McDonald’s locations, which stretch from Morro Bay to Arroyo Grande, company officials said.

Owner and operator Keith Handley told The Tribune last December that the San Luis Obispo restaurant would close this month after several years of lackluster business.

He had unsuccessfully lobbied San Luis Obispo city officials to lift the city’s ban on drive-through restaurants for several years, noting that such a convenience for customers would have helped the Foothill location.

The city imposed the drive-through ban in 1982, and city officials have continued to support it.

“We’re sad to see it go,” but the lease is up and it didn’t make sense to renew it without the ability to do a major remodel, including a drive-through window, said Bob Bedard, director of operations for the Foothill location and others.

Meanwhile, the owners plan to remodel the McDonald’s location on Madonna Road starting Nov. 1 with new restrooms, a new interior design and a McCafe coffee bar, Bedard said.

— Tribune staff report

Paso winemaker to host open house

Winemaker Signe Zoller will host her first open house since opening her downtown Paso Robles winemaking center in 2007.

The Zoller Wine Styling event is designed to coincide with the Paso Robles Harvest Wine Weekend — set from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 16 to 18.

Her shop, at 525-A Pine St., is a studio for made-to-order winemaking.

— Tonya Strickland