Troy game days bring business to Pike County

Published 3:00 am Friday, August 31, 2018

Troy officials are predicting a busy Saturday for the Trojans home matchup against No. 22 Boise State, and some of the biggest benefitters of the festivities are local businesses.

Lyndsay Taylor, owner of Sips on the Square, said gamedays are always big business for the restaurant.

“Either people come in for lunch before a later game or come in for dinner after an early game,” Taylor said. “People are just already out and about and they make a day of it. They have more time to just come in and enjoy a meal.”

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The atmosphere downtown certainly plays a part in that Taylor said.

“Having the shuttles pick people up and drop them off at the Square is definitely a huge plus,” Taylor said.

And that goes for all kinds of businesses downtown, at least according to Barbara Ward, owner of Rustic Linen.

“People come downtown and they go in all the shops,” Ward said. “We have a lot of out-of-town traffic on weekends even without games; parents come to visit their children at the university, and they’ll come downtown and visit. It’s what keeps us going.”

And Ward said people aren’t just coming in to browse the home decor selection and leaving – they’re walking out having purchased items.

Eddie Byrd, director of marketing and community outreach for Murphy Family Restaurants (including the Troy McDonalds), said game days are huge for business there as well near the corner of U.S. Highway 231 and South Brundidge.

“I tailgate outside the main gate area for McDonalds handing out ‘be our guest’ cards,” Byrd said. “Hopefully, they will come back to our store on the way out using those cards.”

Of course, the hotels are another industry that sees a huge boost from the home games.

“We’re completely sold out for Friday and Saturday night,” said Linda Register, manager at the Hampton Inn off Troy Plaza Loop. “That’s typically with every home game. It means a lot to our business.”

This particular game is expected to be one of the most-attended games in the history of Troy football, perhaps even the highest ever. Herbert Reeves, dean of student services, said he received a call from a friend recently noting that every hotel he had called was booked solid for the weekend.

Jimmy Lunsford of the Pike County Economic Development Center said there is no doubt that the football program has an economic impact on the community.

“There’s no question the move to division one, the expansion of the stadium, the tremendous increase in attendance – it fills up the hotels, the restaurants are extremely busy. You can’t put a dollar figure with it, but it is a substantial impact.”

Beyond jus the football program, Lunsford pointed to the university as a “crown jewel” for recruiting economic development.

“When we bring an industrial prospect on campus, it is not considered small town America anymore,” Lunsford said. “When they see the magnitude of the stadium, the arena and the campus as a whole, it’s a real crown jewel that we like to show off.”