COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Business owners across Columbus have been struggling during the pandemic, but the return of Ohio State football could be the saving grace they need to stay afloat.
The Big Ten’s announcement of football being allowed to happen this fall will serve as a morale boost for business owners and a revenue boost for the Columbus economy.
“I mean I’m excited,” said Kelly Dawes, owner of College Traditions. “I think all of Buckeye Nation is excited. This is something we’ve been waiting to hear about for several weeks now.”
Buckeye football will begin in late October, which means help might be on the way for struggling merchandise stores.
College Traditions ordered Buckeye gear nine months ago and most of it is still on the shelves.
“To go from nothing to something is huge,” said Dawes. “I’ll take it all day long.”
This is also big news for stores closing its doors like Across the Field.
“We have hundreds of t-shirts and hats,” said David Jackson, owner of Across the Field.
Jackson said he’s looking to recover some of the revenue he has lost due to the pandemic.
“We’ll continue our store closing sale,” said Jackson. “Hopefully, we postpone [closing] for a little while longer until maybe the end of the season.”
With the news of the Big Ten football season starting in October, Jackson said he believes people may now have a reason to buy gear.
Restaurants and bar managers who talked with NBC4 explained that 70 percent of their business comes from game days on Saturday.
“Being on campus, it’s exciting to have football back,” said Bryan Kovach, a manager at The Little Bar. “It drives a lot of our businesses.”
He says even with other colleges already playing, business is slow on Saturdays.
“We didn’t really see any of the crowds coming out,” said Kovach.
Kovach knows crowds will be limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, but he says that’s still better for business than what the situation is right now.