Businesses prepare for profitable Bridge Run weekend - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Businesses prepare for profitable Bridge Run weekend

38th Annual Cooper River Bridge Run 38th Annual Cooper River Bridge Run

Hotels and restaurants in the greater Charleston area are reaping the benefits from the annual Cooper River Bridge Run. In 2011 an economic impact study showed a total of $18.3 million went directly into the economy.

It's not just the downtown area that is affected by the bridge run either; that impact stretches far beyond the peninsula into other areas of the lowcountry.

The study that was done by a Citadel professor also shows over $10.6 million in food sales, and $4.2 million when it comes to hotels.

"It really sets the tone for us,” John Gang, Director of Operations at Halls Chophouse in downtown Charleston, said.

Some restaurants downtown expected to open at 8 a.m. on race day as part of the annual run. Getting customers through the doors a number one goal this weekend.

“You just hope it's a really busy day,” David Lickiss, General Manager at Black Bean Co. in downtown Charleston, said. “If you're going to do 300-400 guests on a regular day, you hope you do 600 guests. Quite honestly once we get busy, busy is busy."

With more than 30,000 runners and several thousand spectators, restaurants, hotels, and shops expected to be packed day and night.

Hotels in the greater Charleston area also in for a busy weekend. While not all are 100-percent booked, most only have one to two rooms left.

Some say it's this time of year that sets the bar for the upcoming tourism season.

"Anytime that you have an event of this caliber, it's a very positive thing for the entire Charleston area," Dan Blumenstock, board Chairman for the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, said.

“It just brings another element to what Charleston is all about,” Gang added. “It's that hospitality."

That hospitality now stretches far beyond downtown, with packet pickup and shuttles going to and from North Charleston.

"It makes it a little bit more spread out which is good, because it helps with some of the congestion and things that have happened over the years,” Blumenstock said.

Live5News also spoke with people about the impact if the run wasn't here. Most said they would be devastated and don't know what they would do without it.

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