KENTUCKY DERBY HATS .jpeg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Businesses are already feeling the effects of the 146th Kentucky Derby running without fans.

On a typical Monday of Derby week, the doorbell would constantly be ringing at Formé Millinery.

"I would have hat boxes stacked to the ceiling and probably have a cot in the other room," Milliner Jenny Pfanenstiel said. "It would be crazy central here."

By mid-afternoon, Pfanenstiel said she had seen only a handful of customers. She estimates she has lost 60% of her business this year.

The Belle of Louisville is also losing out on business due to the lack of tourism.

"Usually, we have tons of tourists who are in town during the summer, during the season," said Krista Snider, CEO of Belle of Louisville Riverboats. "Seventy-eight percent our passengers are from out of the state of Kentucky, typically."

Those on board the historic steamboat said they went from doing 10 cruises a week to five, and the Derby's no-fan announcement led to more cancellations.

"We canceled in the ballpark of 15 to 20 cruises that were either connected to the Derby festival or the Kentucky Derby," Snider said. "All total those 15 or so cruises would have yielded at least a quarter of a million dollars."

Louisville Tourism said the Kentucky Derby typically brings in roughly $400 million to the region, and at this point, it is hard to say what the economic impact will be this year.

"Some people may decide to come and be in town for Derby and maybe go to a restaurant or take in some attractions," said Stacey Yates with Louisville Tourism. "So it's just kind of a real flux right now. I don't think we'll really have a true picture until after the fact."

Despite the uncertainty, Louisville businesses are still working to get people in the Kentucky Derby spirit.

"This is my livelihood, and I really want to make it work," Pfanenstiel said. "So I'm just trying to change with the times and keep a positive attitude."

Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.