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<-Back to WTN Archives Dalai Lama brings peace and profits to Sun Valley
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Thursday, September 15, 2005

2. Dalai Lama brings peace and profits to Sun Valley

By Will Sites
Twin Falls Times-News
Thursday, September 15, 2005

HAILEY -- Drew McDaniel left Boise Friday afternoon with a business plan and
a trailer full of stone Buddhas.

Destination: Sun Valley. Or more precisely, Hailey, and the thousands of
visitors who would make the trek to hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak
during a four-day visit to the area.

Strategically parked on the Main Street lot of Elbie's Automotive, McDaniel
and his self-described Buddha Wagon (aka Chevy Suburban) closed-up shop
during the Dalai Lama's 9/11 commemorative speech Sunday at Wood River High
School. But soon after the speaking of peace ended, the business of profit
began. At least for McDaniel, anyway.

"My wife didn't like the idea of selling Buddhas during the Dalai Lama's
visit," said McDaniel, who attended the Dalai Lama's speech. Referencing the
Dalai Lama's wage against materialism, the importer had a hunch that any
message of anti-materialism wouldn't go all that far in Sun Valley. And by
the end of the weekend, the bulge in his wallet proved him absolutely right.

"Business was very good," noted the Boise native. In fact, the man with the
Buddhas returned home Monday with only two hand-carved figures, selling
nearly 150 replicas. Most of the customers enlightened themselves with the
smaller $12 or $35 statues or other inexpensive Buddha paraphernalia; a few
went for the $145 or $190 stone models -- the truly enlightened could return
home with a $3,700 hand-carved Buddha imported from Bali.

McDaniel, owner of Impact Imports in Boise, is anything but apologetic about
hawking his lava stone and concrete Buddha replicas along Main Street.

"I believe in what the Dalai Lama says," said McDaniel. "I am, after all, a
compassionate capitalist."

Although the main Dalai Lama event occurred in Hailey Sunday afternoon, at
least one business up the road in Ketchum expected a financial boost from
the thousands of tourists who flocked to Sun Valley. It didn't exactly
happen. At least, it can be said, it didn't happen on Sunday.

"We've sold a lot of Dalai Lama books," said Kathy Cole, of Chapter One
Bookstore, located on the corner of Main and Second in downtown Ketchum.
"But we sell them all the time, especially his new book."

At 3 p.m. Sunday, the bookstore had about a thousand tickets available for
Monday's Dalai Lama address. "Ketchum has been dead," said Chapter One's
Taylor Sturges.

Back in Hailey, the staff at Smokey Mountain Pizza prepared early Sunday for
the post-Dalai Lama rush.

"We expected the (Dalai Lama) visit to increase business," said Merris Long,
general manager of the popular restaurant on South Main Street. "We
increased the wait staff and food supply and expect a lot of business --
they better come."

They did. Shortly after the Dalai Lama's late afternoon speech ended,
Hailey's business environ was less about peace and all about prosperity.
Business was good -- real good. Hundreds of event attendees meandered up and
across downtown sidewalks into Sunday evening, buying gas, food, and all
other necessities of those on the move -- tourists and locals alike.

And those on the move like to stay on the move. Apparently, coffee is one
popular way to do it.

"Sunday and Monday were miserable," said Angie Clark, manager of Java in
Hailey. Clark said that she barely had a chance to move away from the coffee
station on Sunday.

Ditto that from Shorty's diner in downtown Hailey.

"He (Dalai Lama) brought a lot of money to the valley," said owner Jeanne
Greenberg. "It was insane."

So insane that Greenberg closed the place a little early on Sunday because
the staff was exhausted.

The Dalai Lama's recent visit brought both message and money to the Sun
Valley area. For those in the business of staying in business, a little
extra cash can bring a whole lot of peace. And that, as one maven of money
likes to say, is a good thing.

Story published at on

Articles in this Issue:
  1. His Holiness spends four days in Idaho, preaches compassion
  2. Dalai Lama brings peace and profits to Sun Valley
  3. Dalai Lama speaks to 10,000 Idaho children
  4. The Dalai Lama's Affect on Idaho
  5. Prepping for the Dalai Lama
  6. Dalai Lama stops in Tucson during national tour
  7. Buddhist Woodstock
  8. Dalai Lama Inc.
  9. Made in China

Other articles this month - WTN Index - Mail the WTN-Editors

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