As OSU football season starts, businesses, bars look to bounce back


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As Buckeye Nation prepares for a new football season, business owners near Ohio Stadium are doing the same.

“We’re real excited,” said Kelly Dawes, the owner of College Traditions, an Ohio State sportswear retailer. “It was grim there for a while and it was a roller coaster ride. Are we going to play? Are we not going to play? So, things are looking up. It’s finally game week and we’re ready to go.”

Fans will not be permitted inside Ohio Stadium and tailgating is also prohibited.

Dawes said that despite the limitations on fans, she is hopeful that the new season will still bring a boost to business with it.

“Well, it’s not going to be business as usual, of course, but this helps,” she said. “Without football, there’s no interest. At least now there’s some excitement. There’s interest. People are coming down and getting ready for Buckeye football.”

Bar and restaurant owners are also preparing for a season that will be unlike any other.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” said Tony Mollica, the owner of The Varsity Club, “We’ve never had a game with no fans.”

Mollica said he and his staff will follow all of the state’s health and safety guidelines, for fans who show up at The Varsity Club for the game.

Quinn Allen, the owner of The Library Bar, will do the same.

“I think it’s going to be great, as far as bars and restaurants, just because everybody in the hospitality industry is doing such a good job,” Allen said. “We talk about a game day when we’re used to being packed shoulder to shoulder, standing room only. Now, we’re talking about less than 50 percent capacity, so now we’re fully staffed for a game day, but we’re expecting a crowd that you’d see on a Tuesday afternoon. I think it will be very well under control and I think we’re going to have a safe, good time.”

The Buckeyes are scheduled to kickoff against the Nebraska Cornhuskers Saturday at noon.

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