Tall Ships 2013 Means Major Prep Work for Canal Park Businesses

By KBJR News 1

July 23, 2013 Updated Jul 23, 2013 at 8:13 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - If last–minute reservations are something on the average tourist's to–do list for the 2013 Tall Ships festival, don't expect to have much luck at the Canal Park Comfort Suites.

General Manager Janell Mussman says they've had the five–day stretch booked for the past year. "Of course, this hotel property being closest to the lighthouse, and [the harbor]—we're kind of in a prime location," added Mussman, with a wink.

With 250,000 tourists expected to flock to the Canal this week, Mussman says planning, and rolling with the punches—all while entertaining guests—is a must.

"We're known for our spontaneity, and just being able to have fun. That's what hospitality's all about," said Mussman, standing in front of about a dozen or so Jolly Roger flags.

But the anticipated $15 million in tourism revenue isn't going to be reserved to the hotels alone. Grandma's Restaurant President Brian Daugherty says that means being ready for big food business

"In a nutshell, I think Canal Park is prepared to have absolutely the best week it's ever had in the history of Canal Park. I can't tell you the significance of this week," said Daugherty, outside of Little Angie's Cantina.

Along with extending outdoor seating and eating options, and adding an entertainment stage to Grandma's patio, Daugherty says having to include weekend food re–stocking is the only option for his restaurants.

"There's just not enough space in the coolers and freezers that we have to serve all the product that we plan on serving if things go well," added Daugherty.

In the end, no business is overlooking the importance of keeping their shelves fully stocked.

Four–month–old Fizzy Waters specialty soda shop co–owner Steve Smith says they're ready to cater to a world of tastes. "It's people from all over the world. There are always new people to meet, people to talk to. It's just fun," said Smith.

With tall ships on the horizon, however, marketing to a specific genre is a must.

"We've got probably about 8 or 9 boat–themed sodas that we've totally stocked up on right now," Smith added.

...finding the right flavor for everyone this week.

Along with boosting their inventories, a handful of businesses, including the Great Lakes Aquarium, plan on extending their hours of operation so everyone can hope to get in on the action.

- Posted to the web by Billy Wagness