Businesses prep for PREP FOOTBALL
Significant economic impact felt by restaurants, retailers

By Katherine Michalets  - Freeman Staff

Aug. 22, 2015

Sweatshirts for the three Waukesha high schools hang in the Walmart on West Avenue.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA — With the recent crisper nights, anticipation has grown for the start of the high school football season by the players and fans and the businesses that see an uptick in sales during the season.

“People come for fish before the game and they come in after the game. If you win you get a treat. If you lose get a treat,” said Paul Pitas, director of public relations & communications for the Culver Franchising System, Inc. “You’ll have coaches bring their entire team in; they have their uniforms on and they are lining up for a treat. You’ll have grandmas and grandpas coming in and sitting right near the kids.”

Celebrating with food

Gary Beres owns the Culver’s on Main Street in the Woodman’s out lot and on Sunset Drive in Waukesha.

“The Sunset restaurant for sure we get a pretty big blast and (on) Main Street we get some of it,” Beres said of football night sales.

Catholic Memorial junior Max Cooper (4), and senior Alex Bray (7) celebrate a touchdown pass from Bray to Cooper during Catholic Memorial's 50-0 win over Milwaukee Riverside on Friday at Waukesha North.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Although a sales increase is seen on game nights, Beres said Fridays are generally strong sales periods anyway. “It’s another icing on the cake for us,” he said.

The Sunset Drive location mainly attracts players and fans from Waukesha West, while the Main Street location draws more from Waukesha South.

Michelle Sickler, restaurant manager for the Cornerstone Sports Pub & Eatery in Oconomowoc, said they get a lot

of football players and their fans and family who come in before and after games, as well as practices.

“There is a huge impact for us,” she said.

Having the players and fans in the Main Street restaurant creates a small community atmosphere. Cornerstone Sports Pub likes to support the teams and the high school so they keep an eye on the schedule and often donate to various fundraisers and activities.

Catholic Memorial junior Josh Karfonta heads for the end zone behind a block by junior Chan Bargielski during Catholic Memorial's 50-0 season-opening victory over Milwaukee Riverside at Waukesha North.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Showing team spirit

Supporting the local team often means donning the school’s colors or logo.

Students from all three Waukesha high schools can find apparel with their school’s logo at the Walmart Supercenter on West Avenue. The store carries sweatshirts and T-shirts representing each high school.

Store manager Craig Peterburs said sales of high school merchandise will pick up in the next week or two, but especially after Labor Day. The items are kept in stock year round and are replenished as needed.

“For Walmart, it is very important to recognize the community we are in,” he said. That also means carrying more hunting and fishing gear for a community that is enthusiastic about those activities and stocking Wisconsin-made beers.

Another sign that it’s game day, Peterburs said, is more sales of lawn chairs, food and snacks.

Catholic Memorial students cheer during Friday's game against Milwaukee Riverside at Waukesha North. Catholic Memorial won 50-0.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Bill Millot, owner of Cooney Sports Locker in Oconomowoc, said the start of the football season, as well as the school year in general, have a significant impact on his sales.

“Bottom line when it comes to football everyone gets excited, but it’s all contingent on how the team does,” Millot said. So far, Millot said he is optimistic about Oconomowoc’s outlook for this year.

Homecoming in Oconomowoc with its downtown parade and dance are also huge celebrations, Millot said, and people want to show their team spirit.

He had also done some printing of apparel for Arrowhead, Watertown and Pewaukee and carries Badgers and Packers merchandise.

Popular items remain hooded sweatshirts, Tshirts and hats, but especially big this year are bucket hats, Millot said.

“We are constantly coming up with different designs and logos,” he said.