Downtown and on-campus businesses preparing for the move to TCF
There are approximately 10 bars and restaurants in a 3-block radius of the Metrodome, all of which have the potential to experience a decrease in business next year when the Gophers make their move to TCF Bank Stadium.
However, despite the potential for profit cuts, many business owners immediately surrounding the Metrodome don’t appear fazed.
Ray Crump is the owner of Dome Souvenirs Plus, a retail store selling Minnesota sports merchandise near the Metrodome.
A shortage of parking and a chaotic atmosphere on Gophers game days generally deters would-be Saturday customers, he said, adding that he actually expects to see an increase in business next year for this very reason.
Steve Anderly, owner of Hubert’s Bar and Grill , said he was excited to see Gophers football move back on campus next season.
Though Anderly admitted his business would see a drop in sales next year, he said he believes having the program closer to the student body is more important.
“When I went there it was on campus, and it was tragic to see it go off campus,” Anderly said. “I’m kind of at the end of my 25-year run here. I can adjust. I’ll survive.”
Hubert’s is relatively isolated, located across the street from the Metrodome but relatively far from other retail establishments. Therefore Anderly is somewhat dislocated from the “synergy” he said is generated among close-grouped bars. Hubert’s is much more destination-oriented, he said, and specifically attracts Metrodome-goers.
Anderly said he sees a direct correlation between game day and non-game day sales, selling roughly three to four times more lunches when teams are playing at the Metrodome. He said he plans to cut staff hours in order to compensate for the decline in sales.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said he applauded Anderly’s thinking and believed businesses like Hubert’s will benefit long-term from the move to TCF Bank Stadium.
“The new stadium will put more money into the economy,” Rybak said. “This will add more life to that entire part of the city.”
Rather than simply transferring business from one section of Minneapolis to another, Rybak said the new stadium will create a “magnet” for tourism that will benefit the Twin Cities as a whole.
He said he’s also anxious to experience the excitement he’s felt at other nearby stadiums, adding that TCF Bank Stadium will probably boost alumni donations to the University.
“For too long the University has not had that Saturday football experience,” Rybak said. “Now we’re going to have that on-campus atmosphere that will not only be great for students but bring back alums.”
On-campus businesses are also gearing up for next year’s move. Eliot Hawkinson, manager of the Stadium Village sandwich shop Panino’s said the store expects to see a 20 percent increase in sales next year.
Panino’s fills up during hockey games, Hawkinson said, but he hopes the stadium will introduce new customers to the store.
Rookie Lanoue, general manager of Blarney Pub and Grill said the establishment generally sees an increase in business whenever University events draw in people from outside the campus area.
“We get to enjoy it as fans and as a business,” Lanoue said.
Blarney opens at 8 a.m. on Saturdays, and Lanoue said though it won’t specifically focus on attracting would-be tailgaters, he hopes to see people come in before the game.
“We know what goes on in Madison and Iowa City and places like that for football games,” he said. “Areas around their stadiums are always full of people just excited for the game and hanging out beforehand, and that’s definitely what we hope to see.”