Struggling Park City store receives more traffic thanks to snow, tourists

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The Sundance Film Festival is known for attracting celebrities, locals and tourists to the snow-covered mountains in Park City for 10 days out of the year.

The local Fresh Market in Park City has been struggling this winter because of the lack of snow. Last weekend, however, the city received almost four feet of snow and that, combined with the film festival, has brought in┬áconsiderably┬ámore traffic. Even in a place like Fresh Market, there’s a diverse cross-section one could find in the Sundance films themselves

The crowds contained the press, Sundance volunteers, skiers and locals. One woman, Sophie Brown, was dressed in a short skirt with gray tights and boots. She had a fur coat, a silver nose ring and was busy picking out vegetables.

In Sophie Brown’s posh English accent, she shared the film experiences that brought her here. Brown is from Brighton, England, an oceanside city full of theaters and entertainment. This was her third time to the festival. She works in film, writes about film, studies film, goes to festivals and makes film.

“The festival is great,” Brown said. “It’s a mixed emotion of little film snow globes.”

Locals have different feelings about the festival. Some avoid the festival and others enjoy it. Chastity Seliga and her son Jett moved to Park City four months ago and said they are loving the experience.

“It hasn’t been that bad,” Seliga said, referring to the festival crowds. “We just went to the library and didn’t have any problems parking. Really we have just been waiting for the snow. I am learning to ski but Jett is pretty good.”

Jett is 6 and the move from Arkansas to Park City has been a big one. He said he loves skiing though.

“I like that you get to go over jumps,” Jett said.

The locals are not the only ones with experience. Karen and Karly Fregenti, mother and daughter, are from New York and here for the festival. Karen is in her ninth year of festival attendance and said she has learned so much in each stay here.

“Do your homework before you come,” Karen said. “Look up transportation, lodging, restaurants … you need to be prepared because there are so many people here.”

Christy Rees, a Fresh Market employee from Coalville, described the difference in the shoppers.

“The store is definitely busier,” Rees said. “I think we get different people, it’s just a different clientele.”

Rees said it’s fun to try to spot celebrities or famous people who come in the store during the festival.

“You can always tell who they are,” Rees said. “They are dressed in black and wearing sunglasses.”

The festival is great for seeing all different types of people and it is easy to spot them in the craziest of places, including a grocery store.

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