COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Ahead of Thursday’s season opener against Minnesota, a steady flow of fans stopped by College Traditions to pick up their newest gear.
“We are here doing our annual stock up,” said Tony Johnson.
Store owner Kelly Dawes said she can see a difference in the fans that stop by the store, compared to last year.
“It’s a big difference,” she said. “People are so excited. They’re actually going to be able to attend games. We just see a lot of excitement.”
According to Dawes, the store’s fourth-quarter sales last year were down about 45 percent. She is hopeful, however, sales will rebound as the new season begins.
“We’re just happy we got through last year,” she said. “It was pretty brutal, but we’re glad and people are coming out. Buckeye Nation is getting geared up, so it’s exciting.”
A few miles away, at Habanero’s Fresh Mexican Grill in Grandview Yard, the team is gearing up for its first Buckeye season since opening.
J.C. Hernandez, one of the restaurant’s owners, told NBC4 that he expects crowds for Buckeye games, beginning Thursday. Hernandez hopes the 28 TVs in the restaurant, in addition to food and drink specials, are a draw for fans.
“Having all these TVs, it helps make people feel more comfortable enjoying every single game,” he said. “If it’s the Buckeyes, Columbus Crew, or Blue Jackets, they will love it, so that’s perfect for us”
The first home game for the Buckeyes is against Oregon next Saturday, September 11, at noon.