Businesses thrive during ArtPrize rush

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Businesses say they're used to seeing an uptick in sales during ArtPrize, but when it comes to ArtPrize Seven, they're breaking records.

Nearly a half hour after the doors opened to Ruth Chris Steakhouse Saturday night, 12 people had already been seated and the restaurant was booked for reservations.

"Within minutes of being here you'll see how it overflows," said General Manager, Becky Oldani.

The city of Grand Rapids has been overflowing with art-lovers from across the nation, many who need a place to sleep, something cold to drink, and a little bite to eat.

"Friday and Saturday for sure there's no chance of getting a reservation until 9:30, these two and half weeks we are slammed," Oldani said.

And there's a chance this steakhouse will see its highest revenue of the year.

"These two and a half weeks, this is where we make our money," Oldani said, adding that Ruth Chris Steakhouse is not alone.

"Yesterday was our highest day we've had so far. It's been the highest of the five years we've been open, so we're looking forward to the next few weeks to finish up," said Renee Koops, the Director of Operations at the Reserve.

Koops says their revenue is up 20 percent, adding that ArtPrize is their busiest time of the year.

To accommodate with the rush, some businesses downtown are hiring part-time help and adding days to their usual schedule.

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