Local businesses reap profits from track
The Kansas Speedway proved lucrative in its own concessions and ticket sales, and Tonganoxie businesses also benefited from the new race track.
Various Tonganoxie merchants saw increased sales with the final racing weekend of the season near Kansas City, Kan.
And they say they're anticipating more profits next year. The third in a series of three major races concluded on Sept. 30 at the speedway, which is 16 miles east of Tonganoxie in Kansas City, Kan.
Jim Lingenfelser, of JR's Liquor, 107 E. Third, said the event had a personal and business impact on him.
Coors had two suite tickets for Lingenfelser, and he met Joe Montana, along with country singers Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn at the races. Brooks and Dunn sang the national anthem before the Sunday race.
Lingenfelser also said his liquor sales increased 10 to 15 percent during the races.
"A lot of people from out of town were here, but a lot of people from here were going to the racetrack," Lingenfelser said. "It balanced out."
Daniel's BBQ, 215 West St., had good business as well, but owner Daniel Hipsher said he wasn't positive if some business was from an equipment auction on Sept. 29.
"On Saturday, it was hard to tell because we're always busy on the weekend," Hipsher said. "I know overall for the weekend we had more business than the other race weekends."
Hipsher said he had more food on hand before the first race weekend, but had a fourth of that during the last weekend.
"The first weekend, I stocked up to the hilt," Hipsher said.
Last weekend with less food, Hipsher barely survived.
"On Monday morning, we were out of everything," Hipsher said.
Another restaurant also welcomed the race weekend.
Matt Bichelmeyer, owner of Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse, 427 E. Fourth, said it was probably the best weekend he's had while operating the restaurant.
"There was no down-time," Bichelmeyer said. "I was very impressed with business. We didn't do anything different, so I knew it had to come from racetrack."
Barbara Hutchinson, assistant manager at Casey's, 103 W. Fourth, noticed a strong flow of people coming from the south on U.S. Highway 24-40.
"I know we were really busy," Hutchinson said.
The store was also training a new employee, which helped in having more workers on hand.
B&J Apple Market, at Highway 24-40 and Ridge Street, was slightly busier during the race weekend, but owner Jim Gambrill was unsure whether the store had an increase in sales.
"It's hard to tell," he said. "Figures are growing anyway."
Nearby B&J Amoco had a more noticeable increase in business.
Terri Chop said the station had steady traffic during the weekend.
"There were a lot of people coming through," she said. "Especially to use the restroom."
Pizza and soft drinks were major sellers, and gasoline sales also were brisk for a Sunday which Chop found out on Monday.
"I was at the race and left all the people behind," Chop said. "I'm still hearing about that."
Local businesses will have to wait another year for the boom of speedway business, but Hipsher looked for even more success next year.
He thought more people would try to find new routes to the races, preferably along U.S. Highway 24-40.
"Next year will be better," Hipsher said. "They'll want to find a back way in. I think we'll see a lot more business then."