TrackTown12 boosts business better than Eugene08

TrackTown12 boosts business better than Eugene08 »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. -- They built it, but they never came.

"We had all of our patios set up with grills that we had rented," said Agate Alley Bistro general manager, Tony Schmidt. "We kind of over prepared for it. We had too much staff, too much everything and then nothing happened."

Business owners said the 2008 Olympic Trials were a bust.

"It almost seemed like nothing happened in '08," said Mazzi's general manager Mason Ambo. "It almost was slower."

Fast forward four years and it's a much different story.

"Since the trials started, we've had great business," said Schmidt. "I think it's an increase from four years ago for sure."

Everywhere KVAL News went, business owners were smiling.

"You know when the events are getting out and the last event goes that it's time to get ready for business," said Schmidt.

Business near the intersection of 19th and Agate just south of Hayward Field joined forces to get people to walk the extra four blocks south to their patios and it's paying off.

"Maybe people are just exploring more," said Studio One Cafe server, Chanda Littlefield. "They came last year, went to different restaurants, kind of discovered this area, trying some new places. or maybe they realized it's not as hectic over here as they thought it would be."

Mazzi's even booked a big-time party of 80 for BP.

"Somebody in the group obviously has come to Mazzi's before and they really really liked it," said Ambo.

Wild Duck on Villard has become the nighttime hot spot for athletes and their fans.

"I could tell you a hundred stories watching previous gold medalists come in here," said Wild Duck co-owner, Bob Jensen. "Nick Symmonds came in after the race. He's in here, the babes are on him. It's just incredible. The house is packed, music is bumping."

This Villard Street location is less than a year old, but Jensen said the company's 20 year history is strong and led to partnerships with major companies like Saucony and the Running Network, helping Jensen and others get the party started and keep it going through Sunday.

The Hayward Business District is putting on a show Friday night at the corner of 19th and Agate. There will be live music and bands. It's free and starts right after the races wrap up around 5.