State Patty’s Day Means Green for Local Businesses
For local business owners, State Patty’s Day means a different kind of green. I caught up with some of State College’s favorite places to eat, drink, and be merry to find out what the influx of State Patty’s Day revelers meant for their bottom line.
Jimmy John’s (@JimmyJohns)
“This was our biggest weekend ever here,” Jimmy John’s manager Chris McCardell told me yesterday as I waited for my #2 without mayo to be made. “Saturday was the biggest day we’ve ever had. Compared to football weekends, it was about a 20% increase (in business).”
McCardell noted that the flow of patrons throughout the day was constant.“It was non-stop. We usually open the doors at about 10-11am every day. We opened the doors at 7am on Saturday and I don’t think we closed until about 3:30 or 4am when we usually close at 3.”
As far as incidents with customers, they were few and far between. “We had a couple signs get taken,” McCardell recalled. “The bathroom mirror got taken down, but all-in-all it could have been a lot worse. We’ve seen worse on football weekends destruction-wise.”
The Family Clothesline
Store manager Caroline Gummo estimated that this year’s State Patty’s Day sales were “better than Arts Fest weekend, but a little less than a football weekend.”
Gummo also said she believes that State Patty’s Day weekend “was beneficial for all downtown businesses — retail stores, restaurants, gas stations, bus companies, etc.” and stated that the weekend “was a big boost to the State College economy.”
Cafe 210 West (@Cafe210West)
I asked Cafe 210 West owner JR Mangan whether he thought being one of the handful of bars open on Saturday was a factor, and he responded saying,”It’s hard to say because last year we had a pretty good line too, all day due to the sheer volume of people in town. But I have to say (it helped) that we were one of the few bars open.”
JR pointed out that the crowd on Saturday was obviously lacking the presence of alumni and older football fans that comes with a football weekend, but that business was comparable.
Overall, JR sounded pleased with this year’s State Patty’s Day at Cafe 210 “Everyone seemed to be in a great mood,” he said. “And we didn’t have very many problems at all. We occasionally had to remove someone from line for being too intoxicated.”
JR is also a big fan of Onward State, saying, “I get a kick out of you guys.”
Kildare’s Irish Pub (@KildaresStateCo)
“This was our first State Patty’s Day, and we enjoyed it,” said Jay Murphy, Kildare’s general manager.
As a newcomer to the State College community, Murphy stressed that Kildare’s wanted to help both the students and the borough in making State Patty’s Day a fun and safe experience. Murphy said that he spent the day “trying to contain any possible antics that, to be honest, this town doesn’t deserve.” Some of the ways Kildare’s was able to maintain a fun but responsible atmosphere included a cover charge at the door and the decision to only serve food, mixed drinks, and beer. They also opted to replace live music with a “less energetic” music selection.
“At the end of the day, it went well,” Murphy said happily. “We had a problem-free day. We had such a great day and everyone enjoyed themselves.”
Brewsky’s (Beaver Ave.)
I was told that business this past weekend was “a little better than a great football weekend” for Brewsky’s Bottle Shop on Beaver Ave. The manager I spoke with said he was “surprised, because I don’t get involved in all this hoopla.”
When asked if he felt the decision made by some local bars to close for the day helped business, he said “absolutely, absolutely, and the distributors closing early also.”
Elsewhere in town
- The manager on duty at McLanahan’s (E. College Ave.) refused an interview, hurriedly telling me he was “too busy catching up from the weekend” when I stopped in yesterday.
- A manager of a well-known fast food restaurant on College Ave. told me that, like Jimmy John’s, they saw a steady stream of customers throughout the day on Saturday and did not have any major issues with patrons.
- D.P. Dough (@DPDough) filled an estimated 1,200 orders on Saturday with each order averaging two calzones. That comes out to be about two and a half calzones sold for each minute that they were open.
What do you think? Do the economic benefits of State Patty’s Day give it more legitimacy, or are they worth sacrificing? Are you surprised by the results? Where did you stop by this weekend?