September 23, 2023


Moving Forward

High school entrepreneur creates canopy business at Saratoga track

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A rising sophomore at Niskayuna high school has become a young entrepreneur at the Saratoga Race Course this summer.

Griffen Miller, 15, runs the “Canopy Kid” business. He provides a canopy, table, and six chairs at the race course for track-goers; all they have to do is make a reservation on the Canopy Kid Facebook page and hand over $125. An optional cooler with ice and bottled water adds $25.

Miller said he has completed eight reservations so far. Melissa Miller, the self-proclaimed “canopy mom,” described her son’s early success.

“We did our first post the night before the track started. Griffen has been in business for like three weeks,” she said. “We already have repeat customers and we’ve had just a really good reception on some of the local social media … people ask about picnic tables (and whatnot) and on one post, multiple strangers recommended the Canopy Kid.”

Popular locations for canopy setups include those overlooking the paddock or the race track. Another popular spot sits close to the playground. 

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Finding space to reserve such spots at the racecourse can be a competition — track-goers often race into the track when its gates open to claim a picnic table or other seating area. Miller said he sometimes has to race the crowds to setup his canopies.

“I’m a kid, so usually they will either let me go or I beat them to the spot,” he said. 

Miller said he arrives at the racecourse around 7 a.m. on weekdays to set up the canopy. He plans to be ready even earlier for popular weekend races like the Aug. 26 Travers Stakes. 

“Other days, like Travers, we’re planning to wake up before the crack of dawn,” he said. Melissa Miller added: “We’re joking about 2 (in the morning), but I’m not sure how much that’s a joke.”

Miller said he already has “three or four” parties interested in reserving a canopy for the Travers Stakes. “We only have two setups,” Miller said. “(It’s) a good problem to have.”