MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WFXR)– This year’s racing weekend at the Martinsville Speedway was expected to restore some normalcy — and generate some profits — for businesses in the area, especially with the races being at full capacity.
WFXR spoke with two businesses ahead of the race on Friday, April 8, one of which is a very popular restaurant that expected business to be booming. The other just made its debut in Martinsville and was looking to capitalize on the big weekend.
During race weekend in Martinsville, Clarence’s Steakhouse and Seafood is the place to be.
“We know we’re going to be tired at the end of the week,” said waitress Shannon Draper.
She says it’s always been a tradition to stop in Clarence’s.
“We get a lot of people in with the race and we get the race teams that come in,” said Draper.
For the last two years, business has not been too bad for the restaurant, but there was a noticeable difference at the height of the pandemic.
“It wasn’t as busy,” said Draper.
For waitresses who tend to make more money with tips, Draper was looking forward to racing weekend weekend.
“We clean up pretty good during the race. We do,” Draper said. “A lot of the out of towners are really nice to us. We get a lot of good tips from them.”
Up the road, a business you wouldn’t expect was also looking forward to more customers amid the Martinsville Speedway’s 75th anniversary.
“We did pretty well this morning,” said supervisor Leah Hickman of Plants & More — a Roanoke-based flower business — on Friday, April 8.
According to Hickman, you would be surprised at how many people were actually coming in during racing weekend.
“We’ve had significant business from the racers so far since last night,” Hickman told WFXR News Friday. “We’re looking forward to some more tomorrow.”
On top of flower sales, Hickman says they’re offering additional services to help out-of-towners coming to see the race.
“We’re renting out this lot to RVs and cars parking tonight and tomorrow. So, come on down,” said Hickman.
WFXR News’ D’mon Reynolds spoke with a few people who set up their businesses for the first time around the speedway. They mentioned inflation and rising gas prices being their main motivation and hoped a full crowd at the races would help put some money in their pockets.