Business in Downtown Grayling Spiked From AuSable River Festival Events

Rushing water, and a rush of business in downtown Grayling thanks to the huge the AuSable River Festival events this week.

Business owners are especially thankful for the big crowds coming in, after this harsh winter hurt the bottom line.

With events like the AuSable River Canoe Marathon time trials today, a growing number of visitors are filling stores and restaurants ahead of the marathon this weekend.

“I do a lot of 12 to 14 hour days but it’s just part of what this time of year is like,” said Denise Elekonich, Manager of Bear’s Den Pizzeria.

They love it, this week is what places in downtown Grayling look forward to all year.

“We count on this week for basically our kick off, ya know summers been going but this kinda really gets it going and gets our tourists in town and gets everyone kinda excited for the canoe race,” said Darcie Bowers, Co-Owner of Spike’s Keg O Nails.

Bringing in the crowds, and a spike in sales for some places. Especially the restaurants, which means wait lists that are longer than normal.

“We have people that wait outside and we take names.. probably about 25 minutes for a table,” said Elekonich.

The canoeers all seem to have the same idea, loading up on carbs, to give them the strength and energy they need for their trials this week.

“They eat a lot of pasta to help them through the race time, so we serve a lot of spaghetti, lasagna, baked masacholi, portabella ravioli, a lot of things like that so that helps them prepare for the race,” said Elekonich.

With all those pasta dishes they’re serving, they knew they needed some more help.

“We just hired a gentlemen yesterday, I interviewed him and 15 minutes later he was hired, so that helps even just to do dishes. I needed someone and he was very pleasant to talk to, he started right away and he’s gonna be working the rest of the week,” said Elekonich.

Even though this week may bring a little chaos, the busy work is worth it.

“I love it, it’s great for the business, I love seeing everybody, when everyone’s enjoying themselves and having a great experience when they’re here,” said Bowers.

Businesses expect even more people to come into Grayling and are still prepping for what they say is their busiest time, the weekend, with the AuSable River Canoe Marathon and the parade.