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Ice Freezes Expected Super Bowl Business

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    NEWSLETTERS

    North Texas businesses prepared for months for an influx of Super Bowl XLV visitors.

    Owners had visions of dollars signs as they imagined the crowds visiting their shops and eating at their restaurants, but Mother Nature had something else in mind.

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    Icy roads shut down schools and businesses, and authorities are asking people to stay off the roads if at all possible.

    "It has hurt business a little bit," said Chris Gensheimer, owner of Retro Cowboy, a Texas-themed gift shop in Sundance Square.

    Gensheimer said Wednesday's crowds were thinner than on Monday Tuesday. But he also said it's still early in the game and expects most visitors will arrive Thursday.

    Tillman's Roadhouse in Fort Worth found a way to capitalize in spite of the weather.

    "We decided to open up yesterday even with the ice storm," general manager Stephanie Meyer said. "We were incredibly busy. We were one of the only places open."

    The storm tore through an outdoor tent that covered the restaurant's patio, but business inside boomed.

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    But Wednesday brought a new challenge. With so much demand on electricity throughout Texas, rolling blackouts began in much of the state.

    "We can't process credit cards," Meyer said. "The hood systems for the kitchen aren't working because that's an electric system."

    And roads remained icy Wednesday, making it difficult for customers to get around.

    Meyer hoped that being the one of the only restaurants open would bring in more business. But a rolling blackout cut electricity in the middle of the lunch hour.

    The restaurant rolled with it, continuing to serve the remaining customers and using an indoor grill to cook.

    The frosty weather also suspended shipments the restaurant needs for the busy weekend ahead.

    "I think right now the biggest problem is, we are having a bit of trouble with our wine because it was supposed to come in from California after the weekend, and that wine isn't here," Meyer said. "We are just crossing our fingers and hoping it gets here by Friday."

    The restaurant is booked through the weekend.

    But business owners are trying to remain positive.

    "Three days before Christmas or an event, it doesn't matter what the weather is like -- unless people can't get out, which they will be able to," Gensheimer said. "It doesn't matter. We always do our sales, for sure, Thursday, Thursday evening, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and even Monday."