Grandma’s Marathon Creates Local Business Boost

DULUTH, Minn.– No Grandma’s Marathon last year due to the pandemic not only took away a big event for Duluth but also a big weekend for area establishments.

The race made it a busy day at Sir Benedict’s Pub along Superior Street.

“People showed up to cheer on the runners and it was great to see. It felt a little more normal than it did definitely last year,” said Sir Ben’s Owner Josh Stotts.

Sir Ben’s opened up an hour later this year because of the smaller number of runners, which meant a pause on their tradition of serving breakfast. But in the afternoon, the smell of a cookout surrounded the pub as staff served grilled burgers and brats.

“It’s just kind of a spot for the community to hang out. People can watch the runners, have some fun and relax,” said Stotts.

Grandma’s Marathon is one of sir ben’s busiest days of their busiest days of the year. Stotts says the high turnout Saturday was huge for his pub.

“It’s just great to see the people that we’ve seen every year, whether or not they’re just here for the marathon or people that just come here to watch,” he said. “Missing it last year, it sucked. So it was nice to see them all out again and their smiling faces.”

Back at the center of the marathon in Canal Park, Little Angie’s Cantina and grill saw smaller crowds early on with the limited amount of runners but that changed as the afternoon went on.

“This is starting to look a little bit more like the grandma’s that we’ve known in the past,” said bartender Skylar Kettlehutt, who’s been working grandma’s marathon weekends for over eight years.

Staff didn’t know what the marathon would look like in 2021 because of the pandemic. But when COVID restrictions went away, staff hit the ground running to get ready for a big marathon weekend.

“We started planning as soon as we knew we could do this. We were just ready and very excited,” Kettlehutt said. “Everybody here, it’s something that the entire staff looks forward to every year and we just make the most of it.”

Last summer, tables were out along the sidewalk to create business during the pandemic. This year, those same tables were out because of how many people came to watch the race. Kettlehutt says his favorite part of the weekend is serving those people and making memories with his co-workers.

“The craziness that we have to deal with throughout the whole day being so busy, just laughing through the whole day and just knowing that we’re getting through it,” he said. “Just having a great time with my friends and co-workers here down in Canal.”

The owner of Sir Ben’s says that breakfast it traditionally serves on the morning of the marathon should be back next year.

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