NASCAR Chicago Street Race Boosts Tourism, Small Business Visibility – NBC Chicago

NASCAR Chicago Street Race Boosts Tourism, Small Business Visibility – NBC Chicago

Thousands of NASCAR fans spent their weekend in downtown Chicago, making a lot of money from restaurants, hotels and other local businesses.

As early as 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, race fans descended on the Loop and Grant Park in preparation for the NASCAR Chicago Street Race, eating, drinking and spending their money.

“We just did great,” said Lamar Moore, a partner at Bronzeville Winery. “I mean, we sold a lot of food, which is great, too.”

Moore’s team at the winery was hard at work showing race fans what their South Side restaurant has to offer.

“Hopefully people will say, ‘Hey, I saw them at NASCAR and came to our restaurant,’” he said.

Exposure, like that of street racing, can be life-changing, especially for small businesses.

“It means a lot to show our face, show our family business, just be in the area,” said Bria Price of Josephine’s Southern Cooking in Chatham. “It’s really fun for us.”

The Chicago-based family business has been selling large quantities of corn and nachos for years, both popular items on this summer Sunday.

“With the sun and everything, people are really getting into the Eote corn thing in the summer, so we’re getting a lot of business… and we’re not sleeping on the nachos and the tacos,” said Samuel Love of Josephine’s. “So it’s definitely booming now that it’s not raining like it did last year.”

According to the head of the Chicago Loop Alliance, it was a strategic move to get many local businesses involved in the NASCAR Chicago Street Race.

“All the hotels are full, the restaurants are full,” said Michael Edwards, president and CEO of the Chicago Loop Alliance. “Everyone is having a good time.”

The goal was to give fans a real taste of Chicago – and to give local businesses a boost in visibility and profits.

“One of our strategic priorities is to view the Loop as everyone’s neighborhood,” Edwards said. “So you have to be intentional about that, so we went out and invited about 20 vendors from the neighborhoods to showcase their food, their artistry, their talent.”