PARKERSBURG - A number of Mid-Ohio Valley establishments expect to do a brisk business next week on Super Bowl Sunday, but owners and managers say it would be even better if the two teams taking the field came from a little closer to home.
"I know when the Steelers are in it, sales are a little better," said Jim Oppe, owner of multiple area Foodland stores. "You got a lot of Steeler fans in this area. You've got a few of us Bengals fans in the area."
But neither the Pittsburgh Steelers nor the Cleveland Browns made the NFL playoffs this year, and Oppe's Cincinnati Bengals were upset in the first round.
Photo by Evan Bevins
Clockwise from left, Buffalo Wild Wings cashier and hostess Rebecca Nichols serves wings and dipping sauce to Parkersburg residents Max Carnes, his father Dennis and brother Dan at the restaurant on Friday.
But even in areas where the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks don't have a large following, the Super Bowl will draw lots of viewers and those viewers often gather with others and eat plenty of food.
"Sometimes the interest isn't quite as heavy, but I think it gives people a chance in the middle of the winter to get together," Oppe said.
The days leading up to the Super Bowl fall right behind Christmas and Thanksgiving in terms of big food purchases, he said. The Foodland stores schedule a Super Saturday sale the day before the game, and Oppe said he expects chips, snacks, deli items and produce to be purchased in higher-than-usual numbers.
By The Numbers
* The National Chicken Council estimates 1.25 billion wings will be eaten during Super Bowl XLVIII.
Dick's Market in Elizabeth sees an increase in orders for meat and cheese trays for the big game, co-owner Dean Thorn said. Snack food purchases also increase, although not dramatically.
Still, "any little spike in business in January and February's always nice," Thorn said.
Some fans do their Super Bowl partying at local restaurants and bars. Gretchen Layman, manager of Buffalo Wild Wings in Parkersburg, said the game is one of the larger draws of the year at the establishment, which features multiple big-screen TVs.
One group of fans will win a private Super Bowl party, Layman said. Customers who purchased the restaurant's fantasy football package got a 10-percent-off discount card, and every time they used it, their purchases were tallied. Whoever spent the most gets the private party in the back room, with the winner to be announced this week.
"You see them giving their cards to their friends, which is perfectly legal," Layman said.
The restaurant's wings are in demand for the game as well, from customers watching there and at home.
"It is definitely our biggest takeout day for buckets of wings," Layman said. "They call three, four weeks ahead of time for buckets of wings for their Super Bowl party at home."
North End Tavern owner Joe Roedersheimer expects 30 to 40 people to watch the game at his Parkersburg establishment.
"We usually close at 7 p.m. on Sunday, but we're going to be open throughout the game," he said.
There will be some specials offered, but the N.E.T. won't be throwing a Super Bowl party like it did years ago.
"We do have several patrons that come in, but it's nothing like it used to be," Roedersheimer said. "I just don't see it; nobody's even asking me if we're doing anything this year."
He said games starting later and the extended hoopla at halftime may be responsible for more people choosing to stay home.
Super Bowl Sunday is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for pizza delivery. That's why CJ's Pizza in Pennsboro will have extra staff on duty on game day.
"I would say it probably would be one of the busier days of the year," owner Cathy McKinney said, noting it ranks right up there with Thanksgiving week during deer season and trick-or-treat night.
Last year, a National Retail Federation survey estimated total Super Bowl-related spending would be about $12.3 billion. This year's survey is slated to be released Monday.