Saratoga businesses excited for start of track season

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With doors wide open, businesses in downtown Saratoga Springs are ready for another season at the track.

“I’ve been at it the last two weeks and it’s been pretty steady but even over the last couple of days, people have been coming into town,” says Shane Zanetti whose sister owns the Dark Horse Mercantile. “It was really busy last week for the SPAC concerts so I think it’s going to be really good during track season.” 

From boutiques to bars, breweries and coffee shops, business in Saratoga booms during track season. “Some people are coming back to Saratoga for the first time in years. And so this might be the first time trying Walt Cafe and Whitman Brewing so kind of being that spot all day. Morning we have breakfast and at night, we get a lot of tourists that check us out in the morning and come back later in the day so we are definitely expecting that and expecting that building that customer relationship,” says Katie Crager of Walt Cafe and Whitman Brewing Company.

According to the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, the race course brings about $240 million a year to the area. With thousands descending upon the Spa City during track season, staffing those businesses could be a challenge for some.

“Labor has been an issue and but it is a family business and the family has been involved but I would say our team has grown over the past 3-4 months and we feel good about going into this season,” says Kathy Crager who owns Walt Cafe and Whitman Brewing Company.

While the track brings people from out of the area, the locals are just as vital for business. “We’re going to the track tomorrow but today we’re doing some shopping because we are going to Maine and need a white dress,” says Tammy Phair of South Glens Falls.

“I think coming off of COVID has helped all of the local businesses to stimulate the economy. So we came down to get Pearl some ice cream and just enjoy all things Saratoga,” says Cassandra Wilusz who was walking her dog Pearl downtown Thursday.

Prior to the pandemic, the Saratoga Race Course drew around one million people to the city. Rivaling that of other major sporting events in New York State.

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