Tim Ciesco, Arlington Reporter
Several Arlington-area business are learning how to cash-in on events held at AT&T Stadium.
Randy Ford has never met Jerry Jones — but if he does, there's something he'd like to do.
"I may give him a big hug for bringing the stadium so close," said Ford.
Ford is the owner of J. Gilligan's Bar and Grill in Downtown Arlington. His restaurant is less than a mile away from AT&T Stadium, which is why he's ecstatic the Final Four is heading there next weekend.
"90,000 people are going to be less than a mile down the street," said Ford. "So we anticipate a huge crowd down here."
The Arlington Chamber of Commerce estimates the Final Four will have a $56 million impact on the local economy — a big chunk of change local businesses will want to cash in on.
"You'll find all the businesses in Arlington have learned to take advantage of these opportunities," said Wes Jurey, president and CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
J. Gilligan's has already started setting up tents outside so it can accommodate more people. The restaurant has also arranged to shuttle customers to the stadium on game days. Ford said once he learns who the Final Four teams are, he plans to reach out to the schools and their groups about booking parties at J. Gilligan's.
"About 10 days ago, I told every employee here that everyone is working," said Ford. "And if they've got brothers, sisters, aunts, and cousins, we'll add them on."
Just north of the stadium, Lincoln Square is offering free Final Four parking to anyone who spends at least $40 in their stores each game day. Fans just have to leave their receipts on their dashboard and they're good to go. (Non-Final Four customers will be allowed to park in designated two-hour parking spots)
Lincoln Square is close enough to AT&T stadium that fans can walk there. However, the shopping center is also offering to shuttle people for $5 round trip.
"We've spent a lot of time helping companies understand the value these events bring to the economy and them individually," said Jurey.
Ford said he's come to learn how invaluable they are.
"We've had a 20 percent, minimum, increase in our sales since that stadium opened," said Ford. "It's just been huge."