Businesses Prep for 36th Annual Grandma's Marathon

By KBJR News 1

June 13, 2012 Updated Jun 13, 2012 at 9:40 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - With its debut in 1977, Grandma's Marathon has become one of the longest running, most anticipated marathons in the nation.

"Now, in our 36th year, it's a race that a lot of people put on their calendars every year, which is good for us—is that we have a lot of repeat customers," said Bob Gustafson, public relations director for Grandma's Marathon.

More than 17,000 customers, to be exact, from over 40 countries, which leaves a big impact on the Northland economy.

"...8.5 million dollar impact to the hospitality industry. You know, it's the people coming into town, staying in hotels, eating at restaurants, visiting the bars. It's a shot in the arm, that's for sure," said Gustafson.

...exciting news for businesses located next to the finish line, particularly those that are new to the canal park scene.

"We're looking forward to setting our goals for the rest of the summer. This is the opening weekend of tourism, [and] with our projections for this week is how we're going to base our sales for the rest of the year," said Michael Simon, General Manager for Grizzly's Saloon in the Canal, which moved to the canal May 28th.

Simon says the preparation for the upcoming weekend has been weeks in the making.

"We're talking to all of our vendors and distributors [about] gearing up to it, getting feedback on they've seen in the past years, and going off of their input. [We're] talking to other restaurants in the area, filling our freezers and coolers with as much product as we can, going into this weekend," said Simon.

...making sure the essential comforts will be there, waiting, on the other end of the finish line.

And, so you don't miss out on the action this Saturday, the Northland's NewsCenter will be broadcasting live, at the finish line, with all the results as they unfold. You can catch all the action on MY9.