WILKES-BARRE — Businesses throughout the Wyoming Valley report a boost from race fans.
Those race fans are starting to come through the area now. And even though Pocono Raceway is almost an hour away from Wilkes-Barre, people there say race weekend is a big win for the Wyoming Valley.
It’s always a little busier during the weekends in Wilkes-Barre Township, but when race fans are passing through, business starts booming.
“It’s actually picked up from last year in speaking with the hotels. Last year because of the economy, things were down quite a bit,” said Janet Hall, Luzerne County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Hotels and restaurants get the brunt of the business from the weekend despite the 45 minute drive to the Poconos.
At the Woodlands near Wilkes-Barre, rooms are almost booked for the weekend thanks to fans and teams.
“We would love to have NASCAR every weekend. That would be great. Right now, twice a year…we can increase rates because of these events, and it brings people in for two or three days,” said Ross Kornfeld, Woodlands manager.
Rainy weather might not be so great for race fans and drivers, but business owner say this could actually work in their favor.
“If the race is adjusted as far as the time schedule and they have some delays, not everybody is able to stay overnight for the race if it extends to an extra day, so we get a lot more traffic that day,” said Andy Sweitzer, Lucky’s Sporthouse manager .
All the more reason for businesses to welcome race fans to the Wyoming Valley.
All the business owners we spoke with say they’re already booked for the NASCAR race in August. In fact the Visitors Bureau says hotels are pretty much sold out.