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Blacksburg businesses prepare for uncertain fate of Tech football season

Virginia Tech students, athletic events are huge drivers for local economy

BLACKSBURG, Va – Business owners in Blacksburg are staying optimistic despite the uncertainties surrounding Virginia Tech’s upcoming football season.

As thousands of students prepare to return to campus in just a few weeks, some are cautiously optimistic about a potential boost in revenue.

“This community is completely driven by Virginia Tech,” Clay Corner Inn owner Joshua Roseberry said.

As thousands of students prepare to return to campus in just a few weeks, some are cautiously optimistic about a potential boost in revenue.
As thousands of students prepare to return to campus in just a few weeks, some are cautiously optimistic about a potential boost in revenue. (Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

Casey Jenkins with Downtown Blacksburg Inc says the university accounts for almost all of the town’s generated revenue.

“Of these downtown businesses, that comes from student sales, so when you took that out of the picture in the spring when that happened, and now in the summer with no students, that’s really what that economic impact was,” Jenkins said.

Roseberry said his business took a hard hit after losing in-person graduation ceremonies and orientations. Still, he’s optimistic for the fall semester.

“I think the university and the decisions they are making are wise, being careful but still having some presence here on campus,” Roseberry said.

With the fate of the ACC football season still unclear, Jenkins says student health comes first - but if those plans fall through it could cause a big financial hit for Blacksburg.

“If you’re looking at it at the perspective of the local economy and the tourism or lodging industry people not coming down for the football games or not eating at the restaurants, it’s going to be a big impact and I think we might see some businesses close permanently if that were to happen,” Jenkins said.

The ACC commissioner announced a decision would be made about fall sports will be made later this month.

Tech’s first home game is scheduled against Liberty in Blacksburg on September 5th.


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