Businesses race to prepare for changes to Saratoga racing season schedule

July 09, 2019 06:49 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Pat Pipino has been serving up ice cream at Ben & Jerry's since 1991. To say he has the scoop on the Saratoga business scene isn't a stretch. However he's not sure how the new five day racing schedule will shake out.

"It's anybody's guess," Pipino said Tuesday afternoon. "It could be a boon, it could be a bust. Will people leave earlier and come later? Will they stay later? Nobody really knows."


What businesses do know is that it makes good sense to open before the track does.

This year, the new Spa Cafe on Broadway is delighted to have opened its doors to the public this week.

"It's an absolute must that you can have that business as a nice bump in the summer and it helps your bills in February for sure," said Darin Palmetto, Spa Cafe's owner.

Down Broadway a couple of miles, they've gone to the dogs just in time to welcome the horses.

Pet Lodge of Saratoga Springs is unleashing its new business just before racing begins.

"It's hugely important. Some hotels don't accept dogs, so with the influx of the people coming into the town for the meet, we anticipate getting some business from it," said owner Matt Sames.

According to Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus, businesses are worried less about NYRA's new schedule and more about finding workers to fill the jobs.

"You're going to see shop owners, restaurant owners, cooking, cleaning, welcoming folks. They're going to have to do an enormous amount of work this summer," said Shimkus. "We just need more people to come to work here."


Mark Mulholland

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