SHARECOMMENTMORE

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)- Shortages of food and staff at downtown bars restaurants durting ArtPrize no longer occur. In year four, establishments have learned to make the most of the event that last year brought over 300,000 visitors downtown in a few short weeks.

"Definitely ArtPrize has driven numbers drastically throughout the city," said Alexis Baker, Guest Care Manager the Courtyard Marriott. Baker said her hotel is full and restaurant booming. She's noticed that many of the hotel guests are local, leisure visitors, instead of the traditional business traveler. "We have people coming in from Caledonia, Hastings, Lansing, Grand Rapids, everyone staying downtown, just so they can be closer to the ArtPrize."

At Grand Rapids' oldest restaurant, the Cottage Bar, owner Dan Verhil estimates weekend business will be up 50%, weekdays by 35%. The Cottage Bar is not normally even open on Sundays, but it was full today. Regarding ArtPrize, Verhil sums up the feeling of most merchants when he says:"I'd like to see it happen 300 days a year instead of three weeks."

Last year's ArtPrize was estimated to have a $15.4 million dollar economic impact on Grand Rapids.