Updated: May 11, 2021 10:33 PM
Created: May 11, 2021 08:30 PM
There is a lot of excitement among Canal Park businesses about having spectators at this year's Grandma's Marathon, as last year Canal Park was pretty much empty on race day.
Between having spectators back and the post-race celebration changing locations from Canal Park to Bayfront Festival Park, this will be a combined new experience for a lot of businesses, but it's a change those WDIO News spoke with seem to be welcoming.
"Last year, there was nothing," said Vitta Pizza General Manager Alina Oswald.
But this year, Canal Park is likely to be full of fans. Oswald says she is encouraged by that, even with the location change for the post-race celebration.
"I think that it'll impact business for the better. I think that Grandma's Marathon brings so many people to town, and so many locals out of their houses, so I think that the move to Bayfront, although it seems farther away, I think that people are more likely to walk from Bayfront down to Canal then maybe they would be to leave the tents, even down in the parking lot," said Oswald.
"Having spectators back is going to be awesome for our business. We've always had great business on race day," said Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Shift Lead Andrea Flinner.
Flinner says they are expecting the same thing this year.
"You can't get down in this neighborhood to park, so they end up parking over by the DECC, and people are always walking across the blue foot bridge that's by our store, so we'll see a lot of people no matter what," said Flinner. "We're expecting a lot of sales race day," she added.
Flinner also says she isn't worried that moving the post-race celebration from Canal Park to Bayfront Festival Park will impact business.
"I don't think that the change in location for the post-marathon party is going to make a huge difference in our business. Marathon day, we get a lot of foot traffic anyways throughout all of Canal Park and Bayfront," said Flinner.
Grandma's Restaurant Company President Brian Daugherty told WDIO News he is "ecstatic" to again welcome spectators back for Grandma's Marathon, adding, it's a "bright spot on the horizon."
As for the change in the post-race celebration location, Daugherty said, "It's an experiment. I don't know how the chips are going to fall."
Daugherty also told WDIO News he is going to have to get creative to keep fans in the Canal Park area, which could include things like bringing in a DJ at night.
Daugherty says ultimately, he wants fans to enjoy both the Canal Park and Bayfront Festival Park locations.