Travers weekend a big boom for Saratoga businesses

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If opening day of the Saratoga season is Christmas in July for racing fans, then Travers weekend is Christmas in August for business owners.

After last season without fans, the business community is thrilled with their return this year.

Sales at Impressions of Saratoga have been even stronger than owner Mare Barker expected.

"Foot traffic has been amazing," Baker said. "People have just pent-up demand, more people are saying, ‘God, we missed last year’s, and we just want to make up for lost time. We missed it so much not being here.’"

Up the street at the upscale and sold out Saratoga Arms hotel, Travers week means big business and reunions.

"All weekends are big weekends, but Travers is something special," said Saratoga Arms General Manager Amy Smith. "This is the weekend where we see our returners. So of the thirty rooms we have, I would say 20 to 22 of them are people that have been with us at least 10 to 15 years."

Smith says many of her guests made Travers weekend a week this year – drawn in early for a Tuesday night James Taylor and Jackson Browne concert at SPAC.

Just off Broadway, the Travers makes Saratoga Candy Company’s season even sweeter. Owner Dawn Oesch says sales are up over 25% from 2019 – a pleasant surprise.

"Were people still going to come out and people still be a part of the track? Wasn’t sure. So it’s blown my expectations," Oesch said.

The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce says a sold-out Travers weekend is more than the exclamation point to a busy summer.

"To be honest with you, the fall might be stronger," said Todd Shimkus of the Chamber of Commerce. "Live Nation’s going to deliver a lot of concerts that normally would’ve been done in July or August in September, even into October and the City Center is booked solid,"

But first the Travers, and a time for Saratoga Springs businesses like Cantina to put their best foot forward.

"It’s super important for the brand, and you really want to deliver on those days that resonate with people because it sells the rest of the year," Jeff Ames of Cantina said.