Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
NewsMarylandHoward CountyColumbia

Howard businesses follow Ravens to financial touchdown

Restaurant and Catering IndustryBaltimore RavensFootballBusinessBars and Clubs

Local Ravens fans are not the only ones in Howard County celebrating the team's victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

According to Laura Neuman, chief executive officer of Howard County's Economic Development Authority, when the Ravens win, so do local businesses.

"I'm a believer that positive times lead to positive energy," Neuman said. "Howard County is made up of devotees to the Ravens, so this win is only going to have a good effect on the economy."

And while the positive vibes have rippled through almost every corner of the business community, those that have benefited most from the Ravens' Super Bowl run are local restaurants and retailers.

"We know there are a lot of economic benefits when the Ravens win," said County Executive Ken Ulman, who attended the game in New Orleans. "From people eating, drinking and hosting parties on game day to Howard County residents feeling good afterward and wanting to buy an extra T-shirt or hat. Without overstating it, celebrating a Ravens Super Bowl victory is good for everyone, including our businesses in Howard and the region."

One restaurant that benefited was the British-themed pub Union Jack's, located next to the Columbia mall.

"Game days have been at capacity. We've had to bring in additional tables and chairs to fit the crowds," said Union Jack's owner Gary Ouellette. "It's been a really good run, and we've seen a big increase in sales because of it."

Traditionally, Ouellette said the two largest drivers for the pub are soccer and football, and with the Ravens being so close, there's no doubt which is more popular at the Columbia location.

"The Ravens and the NFL are certainly the kings," said Ouellette. "For those 16 weeks each year, the additional business you get on Sunday is a big driver."

At La Palapa Grill and Cantina in downtown Ellicott City, the Ravens' playoff run has meant a rush of business.

"Every Sunday it got busier and busier, so we just kept going with the momentum," said manager Sean Haskins.

Following the Ravens' victory over the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, Haskins said the restaurant began planning its Super Bowl party. Within a couple days of posting the event on their Facebook page, all of the restaurant's tables had been reserved.

"We are definitely a Ravens bar," said La Palapa general manager Simon Cortes on Super Bowl Sunday. "We've been supporting the Ravens since day one."

While the sports-themed restaurants around the county have seen a boon in business, some of the more traditional restaurants, like Victoria's Gastro Pub in Columbia, have been kept out of the end zone.

"We're not a big sports bar, so we are typically slower during the season," said Tori Marriner, chief experience officer of Victoria's Gastro Pub.

Although the Ravens success may not be translating into dollar signs, it hasn't stopped Marriner, a Ravens fan, from getting her restaurant into the purple spirit.

"We decorate the bar for Purple Friday, and encourage our employees to wear jerseys or purple," said Marriner. "It makes for a fun atmosphere in the bar area."

And while where to watch the big games has boosted the local food industry, what fans are wearing has led to a similar boon for retailers.

Minutes after the Sunday's game ended, Dick's Sporting Goods, in Columbia, opened its doors to eager fans looking to get the newest Super Bowl champion gear.

In Ellicott City, the Dugout Zone, a sports memorabilia shop, capitalized on the playoff run by adding Ravens T-shirts to its shelves during the month of January.

"It's been off the charts," said Dugout Zone owner Rick Hubata."It's like the holiday shopping season never stopped."

After Sunday's victory, Hubata said the team's fan base has dominated the local sports memorabilia market.

"It's a really passionate and very supportive fan base. They tend to shop and show their purple pride," said Hubata.

Hubata gets his playoff T-shirts from Nightmare Graphics Inc., a Columbia-based printing company.

Nightmare Graphics President Sam Andelman said his company began printing T-shirts immediately following the game and didn't stop until Monday evening.

Andelman, Hubata and other local business owners said that by the end of the week, it will be business as usual in Howard County.

"The lead up to the game is euphoria, now it's time to bask in the glow," Hubata said.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
Restaurant and Catering IndustryBaltimore RavensFootballBusinessBars and Clubs
Comments
Loading