Savannah businesses hopeful Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon has positive impact on revenue

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 4:24 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Thousands of people are heading into Savannah for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon this weekend.

One Savannah business owner said they’ve been preparing for weeks for the crowds of this weekend and others are hoping it will increase sales.

“We’ve been planning for the last couple weeks, stocking up on all our supply - the supply chain with COVID it’s a little crazy right now - but we are all staffed up, we have all the product in, so we’re just ready to have a really busy weekend,” Zunzi’s owner Chris Smith said.

His restaurant and bar will likely see more customers than normal, a challenge he’s up for.

“We are super excited for all the crowds after this previous COVID year that’s still going, but to have everybody probably coming from all over the country to enjoy Savannah. Little bit cooler weather we got the heaters out today and some hot drinks going... we’re super excited to get those crowds in,” Smith said.

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Elsewhere downtown, Avalon Exchange is looking forward to increased foot traffic by their store.

“Hopefully a lot of runners and families and stuff like that will come by. We do have a good amount of running shoes and athletic wear as well,” Madison Hodge said.

All in all, both businesses are excited and hopeful for the crowds and extra revenue.

With over 16,000 people signed up for the race, many will be traveling to the Hostess City with their family. Add that on top of a normal tourist weekend and you might think the city will be filled more than normal, but one local expert says it will actually just seem that way.

“You’re not gonna see that many more people, it’s just gonna feel like more because they’re going to be... certainly the guests that are coming in are much more outdoorsy, much more adventurous - you’re going to see some people running and walking and warming up and keeping the muscles warm and all that kind of stuff - so the perception is going to be there’s a lot more but the truth is that we’ve been selling out for the weekends for quite some time,” said Michael Ownes, CEO of Tourism Leadership Council.

We know the Hostess City hasn’t had major events, like Saint Patrick’s Day, this year so Owens says this will be the first big test like that, and mentions that these kinds of large scale events act as a rising tide raising the economy of all the surrounding areas as well, not just downtown Savannah.

“It’s going to be, it’s going to be big we’ve trained three times and been deferred right?! So we trained for Nashville 2020, Nashville 2021, still got deferred so Savannah,” said runners Rebecca Baker and Lauren Kucera. “Third times the charm!”

“If you look at the whole I don’t man group as a whole, the energy you just feed off of it so that’s why I enjoy doing races. I just completed an Iron Man two weeks ago and that was intense, but the people around you they just push you and you want to do better because there with you,” said runners Walter Cruz and Nandi Mireles.

We know the marathon was canceled last year, alongside running events all around the country, so these people are definitely happy to be back.

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