Bridgeport businesses optimistic on White Sox home opener

Bridgeport business owners are optimistic the Chicago White Sox home opener will bring customers to the South Side.

Video Transcript

SAMANTHA CHATMAN: Tyrell, Tanya, business owners in the area tell me they are more than ready for this home opener. They say even in spite of the rain they believe people are prepared to show their support for the White Sox and their local shops and restaurants.

JOSH GANAL: Personally I think it's going to be a great success.

SAMANTHA CHATMAN: After a year of worry and uncertainty, the owners of Grandstand here in the Bridgeport neighborhood say they are extremely optimistic about today's home opener and the business it could bring.

JOSH GANAL: I think there's going to be a lot of people who are going to want to just be around the atmosphere. And they're going to want to hang out and be close to it, hear the sounds of what's coming out of that stadium, and be around in this neighborhood.

SAMANTHA CHATMAN: The family-owned business has been a staple in the neighborhood for decades.

STEPHANIE GANAL: My parents started this store when I was three years old. So I've known customers when I was in diapers, you know, till now. I'm going on 37. They've become my family.

SAMANTHA CHATMAN: Meanwhile, at Stix and Brix Wood Fired Pizza, the owner, Mario Scalise, says he's hopeful the spring season will give his small Bridgeport business the boost it needs.

MARIO SCALISE: Especially for us, we're one of the younger businesses in the neighborhood. A lot of the businesses have been here for 10, 15, 20 years. So for us, I need new people coming in the neighborhood to hopefully, you know, take a look at the business and stop in is good for us.

SAMANTHA CHATMAN: He's relying on foot traffic and loyal White Sox fans like Norma Palomino.

NORMA PALOMINO: I took the train at like 6:00 in the morning yesterday just so I could be here for the week. I'm calling off of work. I'm missing class. I'm just so excited. I know that this is going to help out the community so much. We've already been talking about where we're going to eat, if we're going to have to stand and walk. As long as we can support a small community business, you know, whatever it takes.

SAMANTHA CHATMAN: And it's that support that gives businesses like Grandstand hope for a better year.

JOSH GANAL: I am beyond excited because we missed all of our fans. We missed all of our customers. We missed everybody that we've known and loved for over the years. And to see them come back and to see this team and be in those stands, it's an incredible feeling.

SAMANTHA CHATMAN: And several people that I spoke with say they are going to the game today. Several people in the neighborhood say they're going. They said before the game they might get something to eat, have some drinks. And so their support for those businesses. The owners tell me-- the business owners, they say, you know, don't let the rain scare you away. Come on. Bring on the business. They say they're ready.