GR hotspots profit from Griffins’ playoff run

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Griffins have had a couple of pretty good seasons and downtown bars and restaurants are cashing in.

The Griffins, the defending Calder Cup champions, brought their first-round playoff series home to Van Andel Arena Wednesday.

“When we hit playoff hockey, you start to get that feeling, like that Red Wings game kind of feeling when people come downtown,” HopCat general manager Justin Steikar said. “Lots of business from that.”

The longer the postseason, the more money comes in. Last year, the Griffins played an extra 10 home games on their way to winning the cup. That means more foot traffic.

“They see the increase in the crowds. They see more activity,”  Dante Villarreal, the vice president of business services at the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, told 24 Hour News 8 over the phone. “It’ll be a 40 to 50 percent increase in traffic into their business.”

Some bars say they do even better than that. J. Gardella’s Tavern, which is just across the street from the arena, says it can see an up to 75 percent increase in business on playoff game nights. It has to open extra floors to make room for fans.

“The buzz that’s created, the energy. So not only do you get more consumers, but you get a more excited consumer that’s ready to enjoy this more,” Villareal said.

The Griffins lost Wednesday’s Game 3 and now trail the best-of-five series 2-1 to the Manitoba Moose. Game 4 is scheduled for Thursday evening in Grand Rapids.

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