Bridge Run gives big boost to local stores

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Weeks before the Cooper River Bridge Run arrives area restaurants and stores prepare for an influx of thousands to come into the Charleston area. Some business are already experiencing the economic impact.

"This past Saturday we had standing room only for like 5 or 6 hours. All people coming in getting ready for the bridge run," said Foot Store owner Carolyn Varndell.

Varndell said the bridge run is the start of the busy season for specialty running stores. Varndell said bridge runners started coming into the store in mid-February, but there is still a large number of last minute shoppers to come.

"We're still going to see some people coming in this weekend even next week that are going to be coming in at the last minute we have those four or five that come in the day before the run and still get their shoes which we just sorta shake our heads," said Varndell.

Running stores are just one of the hundreds of area business that benefit from an economic boost before the Bridge Run each year.

"We have a $30 million economic impact on the area," said Assistant race director Joanna Jackson. Jackson said the race alone has forty thousand participants and those runners don't come alone.

"People travel down here they bring there family they bring there loved ones and friends and children its a lot of people," said Jackson.

According to post race survey $3.6 million of those dollars got to casual restaurants like Jim and Nick's Bar-B-Q.

"We give away about 2,000 pork sandwiches as a part of the Bridge Run, then we'll serve another 1200 people here in the restaurant," said local owner John Hair.

Hair said the bridge run is an all hands on deck event for his business and they start early in the morning.

"On the last Saturday in March it's always a super one for us. We open up a couple hours early and we'll be busy late into the evening. We start serving good pork sandwiches at 9 o'clock in the morning," said Hair.

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