By Adelyn Davidson
BU News Service
Tax Day is not the only nickname for April 15. Today is Patriots Day and Marathon Day in Boston, and businesses on and near the marathon path have prepared for the annual event.
Ryan Kearney, general counsel for the Retailers Association of Massachusetts said each business plans differently to accommodate the flood of visitors, lack of parking and minimal street access on the annual Boston holiday. Some close for the day while others prepare for a massive influx of business.
“I would assume that the influx of any event in the city would increase foot traffic,” Kearney said. “The loss of regular customers due to closed down roads and a shortage of parking is unfortunate, but marathon spectators will replace their business, so the marathon is beneficial for business for many members.”
Kearney said the marathon will bring many new faces and customers to the association’s members, especially those with locations near the race course.
The Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the Boston Marathon, expects about 30,000 runners this year from 117 countries.
On race day, the first heat of the marathon is at 9:02 a.m. But street closures throughout the towns and cities on the marathon path will begin at 3:30 a.m.
The marathon starts in Hopkinton and ends 26.2 miles away at its Copley Square finish line in Boston. There will be street closures throughout the cities and towns along the course, including Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Wellesley Hills, Newton, Brookline and Boston.
Jessica Popia, the manager of Marathon Sports Copley Square, said the week preceding the marathon is by far the busiest week for the store, significantly surpassing the store’s second busiest week preceding Christmas.
“In Copley, it’s all hands on deck,” Popia said. “Our other stores in Wellesley and Brookline are both closed along the marathon route because it is very inaccessible by traffic. We are open because people can come in the right when they finish the marathon.”
Popia said the staff at Marathon Sports has been anticipating marathon weekend for the past year.
“We try to back stock and organize as much as possible,” Popia said. “The Tuesday after the marathon is very busy because we do medal engraving here, so the store is busy all week.”
Unlike Marathon Sports, another business located near the marathon’s finish line, Viselli Salon, is closed on race day.
Rue Andujar, the manager of Viselli Salon, said that in recent years the salon has not been open because of traffic restrictions.
“We’re not open because it would be really hard for our employees and clients to get here,” Andujar said. “It would not be possible. Some of our employees are from over an hour away so getting to work on a day with so many street closures would not be realistic.”
Brendan Griffin, the manager of the Lenox Hotel, said the marathon weekend is the busiest time of the year in Copley Square. The Lenox Hotel is situated right before the finish line, so it is in the middle of the marathon action.
“We started meeting back in January to plan the events of marathon weekend,” said Griffin. “It really ramps up three weeks prior to the race and of course during the week of the marathon. We’re sold out every night during the marathon, which is not unique to this weekend, but it is the most busy for us in terms of crowd control and answering questions.”