Downtown Businesses Brace for Grand Prix
Updated: Monday, August 26 2013, 03:02 PM EDT
As preparations for the Baltimore Grand Prix continue some store owners say they are bracing for the event, while still trying to recover from last year's race.
At Zelda Zen in Fells Point, owner Beth Hawks feels a financial chill when the Baltimore Grand Prix rolls into town.
"We all dread it," Hawks said. "Every person you talk to dreads it."Hawks moved her boutique to Fells Point earlier this year after years of doing business in Federal Hill". She is one of several business owners who complain that the Grand Prix paralyzes the city and costs them a holiday weekend of business.
Some businesses simply shut down during that weekend. Many that remain open, such as businesses in Little Italy, complain that last year's race cost them as much as 75% of their weekend profits.
Organizers of the race say they've added more gates to allow in and out access to neighboring businesses and have helped advertise discounts to encourage the race crowd to shop in the community.
The city has maintained that the national exposure it receives from this race will pay off in the long run.