MOUNT LEMMON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Any time the Catalina Highway closes, business gets tough for many Summerhaven Shops; the flow of customers is literally shut off.
For a good chunk of Sunday, traffic on the highway turned to a trickle as cars followed an escort up the mountain to make way for the Mount Lemmon Marathon. Naturally, Phil Mack, the owner of the Mount Lemmon General Store, anticipated seeing fewer customers than usual.
"We had a clue that the marathon was coming," he said. "It's going to be an okay day, better than a normal snow closure."
When the road does get shut down on short notice, it causes for serious difficulty, according to Mack.
"Delays are a traumatic thing for us. You have no clue that something like that is going to happen," Mack said. "It really slows business down when the road is totally 100% closed, it affects us tremendously."
It's been a tough year for Summerhaven, from a road closure standpoint. Multiple fires shut down the highway for days, rock slides caused problems, and per usual, ice and snow too.
However, Mack explained he was pleasantly surprised with the amount of customers who came through his doors on Marathon day.
"It was a good experience for us," he said.
Mack has high hopes for next year's marathon, and wants to make it a weekend-long event in an effort to bring more people to Summerhaven.