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Armory Square businesses ready for NCAA basketball fans

By Ellen Myers


SYRACUSE, N.Y. –– Businesses in Armory Square have stocked up on supplies, unveiled special offers, added more staff, and extended business hours to accommodate the expected influx of visitors for this weekend’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament East Regional.

The regional will provide an estimated total economic impact of $7.2 million on the Syracuse area, including money spent on lodging, food, drinks, and attractions, according to Visit Syracuse.

Jet Black, a women’s boutique on Walton Street, is offering a $50 discount when a customer spends $250 on its spring merchandise, store manager Mary Flaherty says. Jet Black’s sister stores — Bounce, Frankie & Faye, and Etcetera — are also offering similar discounts on merchandise.

Flaherty says the retailers do not have a specific benchmark for expected sales from this weekend. But, she does want bigger crowds to come to Jet Black and the other three stores.

“We just hope that there is going to be a lot of people down here and they’ll stop and see some of the stuff in our windows and want to come in and see what we have,” Flaherty says. “All of our stores are different demographics, different price points, so we can fit any needs.”

Jet Black extended its store hours for the weekend. Normally, the store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and closed on Sundays. This weekend, it will be open until 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Anthony Ingram, a deli worker at The Armory Square Deli on West Fayette Street, says he hopes the deli makes 60 percent of its revenue from selling alcohol and other beverages this weekend. He is aiming to have snacks make up 10 percent of revenue, while the other 30 percent comes from more filling foods, like sandwiches and salads from the deli counter.

“By noon, we would like to push 100 [tickets] per day,” he said. “For this [event], a hundred is good.”

Another business seeking to accommodate NCAA fans is Freedom of Espresso, which ordered extra supplies for selling more coffee, pastries, and other drinks, barista Morgan Lawrence says. The coffee shop is also adding an extra person on staff, which it typically never does, she says.

The biggest concerns that store employees we talked to expressed for this weekend were about weather and parking. Bad weather and scarce parking can keep a lid on the number of customers that hit the stores, bars, and restaurants. But they are optimistic.

“Tomorrow, there are no games going on, so we hope people are going to be out, seeing what Syracuse has to offer,” Flaherty says. “And we’ll just ignore the weather and have a good time in Armory [Square], for sure.”

The first East Regional (Sweet 16) game, between Louisville and NC State, tips off at the Carrier Dome at 7:37 p.m. tonight. It will be followed by Oklahoma vs. Michigan State after 10 p.m. The winners of the two contests then square off in an Elite 8 game at the Dome on Sunday afternoon for the right to make the Final Four in Indianapolis.


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