Last year, real-estate developer and art collector Ron Pizzuti opened the doors to the Pizzuti Collection in the Short North, a venue at which to showcase his vast art collection. After purchasing his first piece of art in 1972, he has since amassed more than 1,500 works by artists ranging from Frank Stella to Ai [...]
Blue Jackets Lockout Might Affect Arena District Businesses
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Itâ€™s been a little more than a week since National Hockey League owners locked out players over revenue sharing and salary caps, among other things. The lockout includes Columbus Blue Jackets players â€“ who wonâ€™t be paid for missed games. The dispute might mean some economic hard times for others — especially for businesses in the Arena District.
By any account the Arena District is a young and vibrant part of downtown Columbus. And itâ€™s attracting a young group of entrepreneurs. Michael Darr is one of those people. Heâ€™s co-owner of two bars just steps away from the Blue Jacketsâ€™ home ice.
â€œWe like the district,â€ Darr says. â€œWe like the growth that we see with the new Huntington Park, the new Hilton, the convention center. Thereâ€™s plenty of items going on â€“ a lot of business; a lot of growth. So with hockey and also the amount of potential customers in the area we thought it was a strong move.â€
George Choposky is another owner who puts it this way:
â€œItâ€™s beautiful down here,â€ Choposky says. â€œItâ€™s a vibrant place that people should come. Itâ€™s a fun place to be. Thereâ€™s a lot of good restaurants, thereâ€™s a lot of things happening down here.â€
But what does the indefinite termination of Blue Jackets games mean for the district? Michael Darrâ€™s â€œRâ€ Bar is a magnet for all sorts of hockey fans. Darr is afraid his business will be drastically hurt.
â€œItâ€™s a major loss of sales,â€ Darr says. â€œWeâ€™re not sure but we know itâ€™s at least a third â€“ minimal â€“ of our sales; could be more, especially with the All Star Game possibly being gone also. We also arenâ€™t hiring like we usually would; itâ€™s status quo right now on staff. So itâ€™s an impact to everyone.â€
But George Choposky, the owner of Rodizio Grill has a different take. He thinks the Arena District has grown to the extent that it can survive the loss of a few games.
â€œI didnâ€™t decide to build a restaurant in the Arena District solely based on the Blue Jackets,â€ Choposky says. â€œIt’s not good business to do that. I think that the area can sustain itself, I really do.â€
Tyrone Jackson is another young entrepreneur who co-owns The Good Frank which in part sells premium hot dogs from carts on downtown Columbus sidewalks. The NHL lockout does mean a shift in foot traffic, he says, which might mean his business will be affected. But, like George Choposky, he believes the Arena District will survive.
â€œIt does affect the foot traffic pattern but I believe that the core of downtown â€“ especially the Arena District â€“ is strong enough to sustain foot traffic, even though it is nice to see a peak every Wednesday night or so,â€ Jackson says. â€œBut the core attractions, with restaurants, with concerts, will help to keep traffic good enough for people like me to survive.â€
Thatâ€™s not to say that Choposky and Jackson can ride out an extended lockout and remain unaffected. Rodizio Grillâ€™s Choposky says that from his perspective as a hockey fan and as a business owner heâ€™d like to see the Blue Jackets back on the ice as soon as possible.
â€œGet it done boys! Letâ€™s get to playing hockey,â€ Choposky says. Letâ€™s have fun and letâ€™s bring more people into the area.â€