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Big Marathon weekend for Boylston businesses

Rick Ginsberg of Denver checked out some Boston Strong T-shirts at Marathon Sports after running the Marathon on Monday.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

The Tannery sold out of its inventory of New Balance special edition marathon shoes. The Forum restaurant ran out of pappardelle pasta. Even Boston Strong T-shirts were hard to come by.

Businesses on Boylston Street and the surrounding area boomed over the weekend as thousands more runners and spectators than usual flocked to the Back Bay for the 118th Boston Marathon. Retailers say an outpouring of community support a year after the bombings, an additional 9,000 registered runners, warm temperatures, and a weekend that coincided with the Easter holiday helped them exceed even their most optimistic sales expectations.

“It’s one of those weekends that retailers live for,” said Edward Albertian, chief executive officer of City Sports, which has a store on Boylston Street just beyond the finish line.


Albertian said revenue at that store was more than double typical Marathon weekends, and he wasn’t the only one to say that. Restaurants and retailers up and down the street, and some on Newbury, reported record sales.

The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau estimated the race would generate more than $175 million in economic activity over about four days, an increase of as much as $35 million from previous years. The number of Marathon spectators was predicted to jump from 500,000 to 1 million this year.

Meanwhile new security precautions, which included restrictions on backpacks and other carriers, also meant fewer people brought in outside items and probably purchased more food and drinks from nearby shops than in years past, said Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

In the lead-up to Marathon weekend, many retailers said they were hoping the commemorations of the bombing would give way to the festive atmosphere that usually surrounds the race. Even so, many seemed surprised by the sheer size of the crowds.


The Creperie on Newbury ran out of flour on Saturday. The Globe Bar & Cafe near the finish line ran out of chowder on Sunday.

At the Forum restaurant, the site of one of the two bombings last year, general manager Chris Loper said so many runners stopped by Sunday for a pre-race carbohydrate fix that they ate through the restaurant’s supply of pappardelle in a ragout of wild boar.

On Monday, the restaurant was packed as the first runners crossed the finish line, and throughout the day customers who were there a year ago stopped by. Thick lines formed outside many other bars, including Lir and McGreevy’s.

Retailers say community support, an additional 9,000 registered runners, and warm temperatures helped them exceed even their most optimistic sales expectations.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

“It’s almost like it’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve,” Loper said. “It’s a happy, festive, and supportive crowd.”

Monday is usually the slow point in the weekend for Marathon Sports, where the other bomb exploded last year. But this year the store was packed, with dozens of customers funneling in to snatch up the dwindling supply of Boston Strong apparel.

“My heart was broken last year,” said Casey Mahoney of Whitman, who brought her two step-children so they could better understand the tragedy. “They need to understand what it is like to be part of Boston and the Marathon.”

Marathon Sports owner Colin Peddie said many people feel an intense emotional connection to the store because of its proximity to the attacks and the willingness of store manager Shane O’Hara to speak about what happened.

Other businesses also experienced an uptick in commerce over the weekend.


Gerardo DeFabritiis, the general manager of The Tannery, located about a block from the explosions, said the store’s 150 pairs of New Balance Special Edition Boston 890 running shoes sold out by Saturday.

“Because of what happened last year people want to prove to the world that they aren’t afraid,” DeFabritiis said. “It’s good for the psychology of the city, and unfortunately, it’s good for business, too.”

More from the 2014 Boston Marathon — Cullen: Just like the days we used to know | Gasper: Boston reclaims its Marathon | Photos: Marathon scenes | The ‘Scream Tunnel’ and Heartbreak Hill | The elite runners | Boylston Street | Videos from the Marathon | Full coverage

Taryn Luna can be reached at taryn.luna@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @TarynLuna.