Business leaders said the event is more great exposure for the city, with businesses expecting it’ll bring a boom to the economy.
When skaters and fans need a break this week at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, they can just go steps away from Nationwide Arena, where there are dozens of restaurants or bars to get a bite to eat.
“It’s life or death, this is how we survive,” said Matt Rootes, the co-owner of Moran’s Bar and Grill.
Rootes said he and his employees always look forward to big events at the arena.
“Well, we’re hoping for a very, very busy weekend,” Rootes said. “It’s always different crowds, you know? We don’t know what to expect of the figure skating fans.”
This is the first time Columbus is hosting the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Rootes said he’s stocked up on food and making sure he has enough staff. He hopes to see a lot of customers walk through his doors, but isn’t sure what to expect.
“Down here, whenever there are events, our sales double or triple, you know, from our normal to a quadruple, you know, especially with the cold, it is going a little bit slow,” Rootes said.
Hotels like the Hilton Downtown said it is almost fully booked for the week and weekend.
Tim Emery, the owner of Boston’s Restaurant, said his staff also looks forward to weeks like this one.
“Oh, it’s great,” Emery said. “I mean, it adds to the vibrancy of the city. And they were in a district in particular. And those weekends are just so helpful.”
Emery said it is an exciting time. He said they got an unexpected boom in December with the Columbus Crew’s championship march.
Emery said although he is still not totally sure what to expect, he thinks sales will rise, which comes at the perfect time.
“The Blue Jackets are on their Western Canada swing this week, so anything that we can get in the arena is a bonus at this point,” Emery said. “We do have some attendance figures, especially for the weekend. Looks pretty strong, but, you know, it remains to be seen, you know, how this unfolds.”
The biggest events are scheduled for later this week when Olympic contenders will be taking the ice. These business owners are predicting the weekend will be their busiest days.