Salem Fair has impacts on local restaurants

Published: Jul. 10, 2022 at 9:16 PM EDT
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - Restaurants in Salem have been experiencing different impacts on their business due to the popularity of the Salem Fair.

On the last day of the Salem fair Sunday, local restaurant owners were still feeling the impacts.

Restaurants like AllSports Café saw larger groups come in to eat together.

“Maybe the whole family is getting together and going to the fair. We have seen an increase in bigger tables. So, instead of it being our typical two to five people, it’s been 10 to 12 people coming in and having dinner,” said Dusti Harrelson, assistant manager for AllSports Café.

Dinner rush has also been earlier than usual.

“Instead of our dinner rush being between 7:00 and 7:30, with the fair going on, I think everyone wants to come out and eat before they get out there,” said Harrelson.

Business for AllSports Café stayed stable through the Salem Fair.

“It usually stays the same whether the fair is here or not. We have a great customer base here,” said Harrelson.

Other restaurants noticed a decrease in customers.

Peggy Fleming, owner of Gina’s Food With Flavor, said she noticed the impact the fair had on her restaurant last year.

“I had planned it at the beginning of the year to close the week of the fair and go enjoy some of the festivities at the fair myself because I knew that business was going to be slow,” said Fleming.

She took this as an opportunity to promote her restaurant.

“During the week I met some new folks traveling in for the fair. Then, I actually went to the fair and networked a little bit and spoke with some folks and told them to come on down to Gina’s,” said Fleming.

Fleming hopes to bring Gina’s Food with Flavor to the Salem Fair next year by becoming a vendor.

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