TAMPA, Fla. — From the NFL Experience to the Bucs' boat parade, downtown Tampa has attracted a lot of attention.
The foot traffic from football fans is providing a critical boost for small businesses in the area.
“The atmosphere outside, you just can’t describe the positive feeling that it gives you when you have these activities here,” said Robert Wickner, owner of Butter’s Burgers.
Wickner opened Butter’s Burgers just six days before the state-mandated shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Like most restaurants, Butter’s Burgers has had its hurdles through the year 2020.
But being located on Ashley Drive, across from Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Butter's Burgers has been uniquely positioned to capitalize on an influx of fans enjoying Super Bowl weekend in Tampa.
Wickner estimates business tripled during the weekend of the big game.
“Everybody that worked here has just been working extra hours, a little bit of overtime, you just got to put as many people on as you possibly can," he said.
According to the Downtown Tampa Partnership, 9 of 10 businesses surveyed reported a “high impact” on finances due to the coronavirus. And the majority of those businesses surveyed reported having to suspend operations in some form during the pandemic, affecting at least 75 percent of employees.
While the hustle and bustle of Super Bowl LV was only temporary, business owners predict it’s only a glimpse of what’s to come.
“Downtown’s future for the next ten years is just going to continue to grow, and grow, and grow,” said Wickner. “And businesses will be thriving before you know it.”