BLACKSBURG, Va. – While the return of the sea of orange and maroon last weekend caused some chaos on the first game day in Lane Stadium, it helped local businesses get back on their feet.
Carrying Hokie gear all year round, 310 Rosemont in Blacksburg is always ready to open its doors, but store manager Mary Humphrey said the lack of gamedays last year created an odd silence.
“It was a pretty big contrast,” said Humphrey. “Especially here. But in that time they really weren’t shopping for outfits because they really weren’t going out and going to games.”
Leslie Jester, the owner of Sam’s Hot Dog Stand, said the same wave of silence stuck around this past summer.
But on Saturday, the Hokie spirit migrated Jester’s way and more packs of hotdogs were sold for tailgates.
“They started stopping by here having lunch,” she said. “It picked up about 5, 6 o’clock on Saturday. And then our late nights the 10 o’clock to 1 a.m. that was a lot of fun. Crazy. Lots of folks out and about celebrating.”
Italiano’s of Blacksburg owner Elsayed Mohamed said they felt the boost in sales too, especially with takeouts.
He said this past summer was the worst turnout he had since opening the restaurant five years ago.
“This summer was very slow,” he said. “I mean there is no other way to put it. I mean we can sit down like this for hours. But it’s going to pick back up I hope so.”
Mohammed said the ingredients he uses have doubled, some even tripled, in cost and he worries he may have to start raising his prices to stay afloat.
Hokie fans will flock to Blacksburg again on Sept. 25, when Virginia Tech hosts the Richmond Spiders with kickoff scheduled for noon.