IHSA track meet helps local businesses



People walking around Charleston Square near Castle and Cottage.

Adriana Hernandez-Santana, Editor-in-Chief

The IHSA Track meet brings in families from all over the state to see their athletes participate in the competition. With more than 2,000 athletes in the area, it’s bound for the city to get busy.

But just how busy does the town get, and how does it handle the influx of people coming into the area?

For the hotels in the area, more people means more business.

Comfort Suites in Mattoon has responded very well to providing rooms to guests. Events like this are great for boosting business. According to them, the hotel has actually been sold out for a few weekends now, and this weekend is not any different.

“[The prices] always kind of rise when we have a high supply and demand. I mean, you have a few rooms that are available and very few that are available. So those prices are going to go up,” says an employee from Comfort Suites.

Similarly, The Days Inn in Charleston has also received an influx of guests due to the IHSA meet, saying that it is much more “comfortable” for residents not from EIU to stay at a hotel.

David Hasley, the owner of the Charleston Area Retailers Facebook group, as well as the co-owner of Castle and Cottage, says that there was a lot of foot traffic last weekend for the girls IHSA track meet, and he’s hoping this weekend has a similar turnout.

“Last weekend for girls, there were more people, there were even some repeat people from the previous year, and they remembered us and came back this year. It does bring more people, but I wish there was a way to let more people know that we are here and have a way to get them here,” he says.

Halsey also says that the air B&B in town called the Loft @ Courthouse have been fully booked since the track meets started.

Cars decorated for athletes (Adriana Hernandez-Santana)

As for food, many people can not start their day without their morning cup of coffee. Dunkin Donuts employees say that last weekend, they were completely swamped with people during the IHSA track meet for the girls. They expect this weekend to be just as, if not, even more busy than last weekend.

Although there has been an increase in hires, that does not mean that the day is easy. According to an employee, the day goes by really fast, but nobody is ever truly ready for the onslaught of people coming for their morning cup of joe.

This rush of people does not just stop at coffee. Walmart has especially been hit by track participants and families alike. Buses can be seen in the parking lot, while athletes are walking through the isle in search of their favorite snacks and recovery drinks.

Overall, the town is busy. But the surge of people in the area can actually be good for the overall economic standings of the city. More people, more profit, more money for the city of Charleston.