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Local Businesses Boom and Bust during Marathon  

By Jonathan Friedman
Lookout Staff

March 25, 2010 --For some local businesses, the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday was a huge cash generator. For others, it was not such a successful day.

“Some businesses on the Pier did very, very well,” Pier Restoration Corp. Executive Director Ben Franz-Knight told the City Council on Tuesday. “Once you got west of Bubba Gump Shrimp, it was more akin to a Tuesday in February.”

Pacific Park’s ride revenue was down 45 percent from previous Sundays, Franz-Knight said.

“We certainly have a lot of work to do going forward, doing a better job of creating the nexus between the marathon and the Pier.”

A similar mix of good and bad was reported in the downtown. Kathleen Rawson, executive director of the Bayside District Corp., said Bayside had spoken with about 30 to 40 businesses. Some shops reported, “We were jammed all day in a really great way.”

Others, including those along Ocean Avenue, did worse than they do on a normal Sunday.
“But they have seen what the marathon can bring, and we encourage them to modify their business model to accommodate the crowd,” Rawson said. “Some businesses did this and did great.”


Rawson said traffic and parking issues were the biggest problems reported. Some employees were tardy for work during late shifts because of that. People were in downtown Santa Monica from the early morning well into the evening.

Santa Monica’s hotels were sold out on Saturday night from the east end of the city to the coast, said Allison Best, vice president of the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau. That marks a 25 percent increase compared with the same night the past two years.

Also, Friday and Sunday nights saw about 25 percent increases in usage compared with the previous two years.

“Which means people came to the race on Sunday, but made a weekend out of it,” Best said. “And they experienced lots of things in the city, and they hopefully generated some revenues along the way as they took in our great attractions.”

Best said pictures and videos of Santa Monica being broadcast worldwide due to the race were great promotions for the city.

The marathon cost the City an estimated $420,000 because of the use of City staff and other resources. The City will receive a reimbursement for the entire cost from the LA Marathon.


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