As Race Fans Leave, Businesses Recognize Economic Boom from WGI

Local News

It’s no secret events at Watkins Glen International can translate into success for area businesses. This year, with another sellout crowd on hand for the ‘Cheez-It 355,’ local businesses in Watkins Glen and beyond are sad to see the race fans go. 

In part due to the money the tens of thousands of race fans bring to spend once they arrive. Even though many stay at the track for the duration to camp, events like this weekend’s races still brings plenty of foot traffic to the Village of Watkins Glen. For some businesses, like Ben & Jerry’s, foot traffic can be big business. 

“The race weekend was great for us, there’s obviously a huge influx of people coming in to town and everybody loves Ben and Jerry’s ice cream so we get a lot of business from it. It’s a great weekend for us,” said James Guild, the manager of Ben and Jerry’s. 

For some businesses, that influx isn’t just during the actual weekend. 

“The week was great, usually from Tuesday to until today it’s slamming. But obviously Thursday, Friday, Saturday are the busiest days. People are great, fans are great. They like to spend money,” said Bob Decker, the co-owner of Bleacher’s Bar & Grill. 

For businessmen like Bob Decker, another record year at The Glen translated into a record year of his own. 

“It’s the busiest we’ve had it in 14 years. I’m not sure why because the weather was great, usually if it rains we’re a little busier than this. But it was a great week all the way around,” said Decker. 

From full hotels to restaurants and more, businesses in Watkins Glen weren’t the only to benefit. 

“So we were sold out here at the hotel. We host anybody from race fans to sponsors and people who are involved with the race here. It’s really good weekend for us,” said Rachael Potter, the Dir. of PR and Marketing for Radisson Corning. 

“It’s very critical. Even during the week when they have the club races at the track. The track does well for everybody. Everyone benefits from the track. We’re glad it’s there,” said Decker.

Both Decker and Guild add while race weekend like what we just experienced is one of their best and busiest weekends of the year for business, the best is actually the Vintage Grand Prix. An event which has a large presence in the Village itself.  

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