Two Harbors businesses hope to capitalize on the Grandma's start - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Two Harbors businesses hope to capitalize on the Grandma's start line

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TWO HARBORS, MN -

In the days leading up to the race, Canal Park is soon to be flooded with tourists, runners and spectators and most of the local business are hoping to capitalize on those race day crowds.

Of course, Grandma's is not all about the finish line. 26.2 miles north of Duluth those at the starting line are hoping to make the most of the weekend as well.

While Duluth may beat its neighbor to the north beaten in size and recognition, according to Two Harbor's Mayor Chris Swanson, the co-host city of Grandma's Marathon is proud to have one thing Duluth does not.

"They get to finish the race but this is where it all happens," he said. "It starts here and it's great."

For Two Harbors, Grandma's Marathon means the first weekend of what the city hopes will be many busy, fun-filled weekends.  This town of less than four thousand is getting ready to almost triple in size.

Viking Motel Owner Kareen Bisson said Grandma's weekend is like the unofficial start of the Two Harbors tourism season, so it's about time to get used to the crowds.

"Just like having company all the time," she said. 

Still, she said while the weekend will fill up her parking lot, there's one unique challenge that comes with hosting the starting line.

"Everyone clears out when the race starts so its really a quiet day around town," she said.

So for the businesses in Two Harbors it's about catering to those crowds before and after the race.

Castle Danger Chief Financial Manager Jamie MacFarlane said Grandma's usually signals an uptick in sales and visits to the taproom, whether it's from runners and spectators, or people trying to avoid the Grandma's crowd.

"I've been down there for Grandma's before and it brings a lot of people to the area," she said. "The taproom up here is great and people want to explore the shore, head up to Gooseberry; wherever they want to go, and we're a stopping point there."

It's that promise of the relaxation after the marathon, that Two Harbors businesses want  Grandma's participants to take away. 

While the town is removed from the excitement of the finish line, they say they're proud to host the start and hope people choose to end their Grandma's journey back where they started.
 

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