Local businesses look for economic boost from training camp - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Local businesses look for economic boost from training camp

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Fans aren't the only ones looking forward to Redskins training camp in Richmond. Local businesses are hoping the team's three-week stint will mean a big boost to their profits.

There are just about ten days until the Redskins start practicing. While strategy and skills are on the team's mind, dollar signs, not playbooks, are what local businesses want to see.

"It can't do anything but positive things for us and for the city," says Marriott Downtown General Manager Andy Seal. "It gives us notoriety. It's going to put us further on the map for people within the region. It also gives great exposure to Downtown Richmond."

After all, the estimated 100,000 fans coming to watch the 'Skins practice have to stay somewhere and of course, they have to eat.

Meghan McClure of Gus' Bar and Grill expects business to boom. The sports bar is located across from the science museum on Broad Street.

"Whether they're finding parking or traveling to the venue they're more than likely going to pass us," she explained. "So we're hoping people take the time to stop in."

 Training camp couldn't come at a better time. Many business owners, whether they are in the restaurant, hotel or other industries say summer is a particularly slow time of year.

"Typically we have a lot of our college student employees go home for the summer just because we're definitely not busy as we are during the fall and winter seasons," McClure added. "So this year we've had to hire a couple new girls.'

New jobs are just the kickoff to the economic impact. Officials estimate it to be $8.5 million each year. That commitment goes for the next eight years.

"These people will have never been to Richmond," said Jack Berry of Richmond Region Tourism. "They will come. They will see how great the restaurants are, how inexpensive the hotels are, how wonderful the attractions are. The beauty is after one year 44% of those people will return and in the lifetime, over 90% will return."

Tourism professionals are hoping this will be a virtual Superbowl-type win for the river city.

"To have them associated with our destination, it's priceless," Berry added.

The Redskins are scheduled to get here next week, just in time for their first practice on July 25.

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