Darlington business owners get ready to welcome thousands of race fans for Southern 500

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 9:57 PM EDT
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DARLINGTON, S.C. (WMBF) - More than 60,000 people will enjoy their Labor Day weekend in Darlington.

A full capacity crowd for this weekend’s Southern 500 means an opportunity for big business for Pee Dee restaurants, hotels and stores.

“It makes quite a big difference. Business almost doubles, everybody wants to make some extra money, the waitresses, everybody,” said the owner of Takis Diner, George Nikolakakos.

Nikolakakos said it’s all hands on deck as a full capacity crowd returns to Darlington Raceway. He said he’s looking forward to seeing his restaurant packed with customers, but he’s also looking forward to seeing some familiar faces.

“I’ve got people coming here for 30 years, every race weekend, and I can’t wait to see them again and welcome them back and offer them some good omelets and good pancakes,” Nikolakakos said.

While restaurants are a staple in every community, some businesses came to Darlington specifically for the clientele race weekend brings.

Dr. RV opened in 2020 after its owners, Michael and Sandra Thompson, uprooted from New York and made Darlington home for themselves and their business.

“One of the reasons we came down here is because we’re such a specialized business, and with the Darlington race track there’s a lot of people that need our help that might not have it if we weren’t here,” Sandra Thompson said.

For the first time, they’ll get to see Darlington Raceway at its best.

“My husband hopes to sell out the store,” Thompson said.

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