Business booming across Louisville ahead of Kentucky Derby | Derby 148

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — As Kentuckians and visitors get ready for Derby weekend, small businesses are hoping to help them make a bold statement.

“I typically buy the hat, but I embellish the rest,” Louisville Councilwoman Paula McCraney, D-7, said. “When my customer saw this [McCraney’s biggest hat ever created] she just had to have it.”

McCraney loves to create one-of-a-kind Derby hats. She said only one word describes her traveling boutique.

“Bold,” McCraney said. “I use it in everything I do, whether it’s on the council or whether it is making hats.” 

Down the street from McCraney’s business in St. Matthews, Alex’s TG Alterations’ phones rang off the hook on Wednesday. 

After two employees quit recently, it’s been difficult for owner Mazon and his wife to keep up.

“A lot of customers understand,” he said. ‘I say, ‘Can you come in one hour, OK one hour,’ and some customers listen to me, and some customers [say] no.'”

A sign outside the tailor shop said they are not taking any more alterations this week.

The same can be said for hair cut appointments at Vintage Barber Lounge on Bardstown Road.

David Melvin, who is better known as Mel, has worked at the barber shop for one year. It’s his first Derby rush.

“Matter of fact! I cut [the hair of] a jockey — one of the jockeys for the Kentucky Derby,” Melvin said. “He’s going to be riding a horse in the Derby and the Oaks.” 

It may be a gamble getting a custom Derby hat, alterations for clothes or even a haircut in the next few days, but for these small businesses around Louisville, customers are a sure bet. 

“We’re ready for them,” Melvin said. 

During Derby weekend, $394 million is expected in economic impact for the city of Louisville. 

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