Businesses gear up for rush of work from Runnin O’ the GreenSaturday’s 34th annual Runnin O’ the Green is expected to bring thousands of people to Jamestown and several local businesses are welcoming the rush of customers.
By: Brian Willhide, The Jamestown Sun
Saturday’s 34th annual Runnin O’ the Green is expected to bring thousands of people to Jamestown and several local businesses are welcoming the rush of customers.
“It’s like Christmas to us,” said Megan Fossum, owner of Wildside Creations.
Fossum, whose business has worked with the run’s founder, Larry Knoblich, as one of three pre-registration centers, said about 30 to 35 different groups of people are ordering special T-shirts in preparation for the event.
“It’s like running around like a chicken with your head cut off for a couple days here. Sometimes, it seems like the phone doesn’t stop ringing and there’s seemingly always somebody coming through the door,” she said.
Knoblich said every business is town is going to notice a sharp turn in sales.
“From what I understand, this is the busiest weekend of the year for the city of Jamestown,” he said.
The run, which began in 1979 with just 23 runners, registered more than 1,800 participants last year and Knoblich hopes to register more than 2,000 this year.
More than $20,000 was raised last year for Elks Camp Grassick, a summer camp for children and adults with disabilities and special needs, and for local people with cancer.
Businesses are preparing for the influx of people expected to begin this evening.
“It’s hard to even put a number on it, because your business is obviously going to go up with 3,000-plus people walking through and around your building on a weekend like this,” said Andrea Huus, owner of Shady’s Restaurant & Lounge.
Other downtown bars and restaurants are making extra staff preparations for Saturday’s event.
“We normally have about 12 people on, but I’ve got five extra people coming in to help that day,” said Sheldon Oviatt, owner of Corner Bar.
Some are not necessarily bringing in extra workers, just having their employees come in a few extra hours early.
“We’ll have a full staff for the Saturday night shift, which normally starts at 4 or 5 p.m., but with the influx of people, all of those on night shift are coming in starting at 2 p.m.,” said Paul Butenhoff, Buffalo City Rotisserie Grill general manager.
Jamestown hotels have been booked for months and have extensive waiting lists.
“We’ve been booked up for this weekend for the past four months, and our waiting list has about 60 names on it,” said Phyllis Thompson, general manager of Gladstone Inn & Suites.
Thompson said she makes it a point to tell her employees, “You can request any other day off of the year except for this one.”
Holiday Inn Express has had to turn away customers nearly every day recently or put them on their waiting list, according to General Manager Heather Dever.
Forecasts of warm weather for the weekend should help bring in additional people to town as well.
Scott Anderson, owner and manager of Cork & Barrel Liquors, said he’s noticed more people coming into town since Tuesday.
“The weather the way it’s been this week and how it’s projected to be this weekend, this should hopefully be the best run ever,” he said.
Taxi services aren’t as much worried about the increase in traffic this evening, but rather by mid-morning Saturday.
“From then (mid-morning Saturday) until probably 5 or 6 a.m. Sunday morning it probably won’t let up,” said Doug Fogderud, owner of Jamestown Taxi Service.
Fogderud said his service will be running a 15-passenger van as well as two Lincoln Town Cars to try and accommodate as many people as possible.
“If things go well and business is good, this weekend could easily triple our usual income,” he said.
Mike Johnson, bartender at Wonder Bar, said the increase in traffic to the area brings in 25 to 50 percent more business than a normal weekend.
Chad Hollingsworth, general manager of Grizzly’s Grill N’ Saloon, said about a 25 percent increase in business at the restaurant is expected as well.
Pre-registration for Saturday’s Runnin O’ The Green is taking place today at three locations — Shady’s Bar & Lounge (4 to 8 p.m.), Wildside Creations and Cork & Barrel Liquors (during normal business hours).
Registration Saturday takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. before the run begins promptly at 2 p.m.
It costs $10 to race.
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org