September 22, 2005
As Homecoming weekend approaches, businesses are gearing up for thousands of visitors to our area. The weekend is very important to these area businesses for their bottom-lines, but it doesn't end there.
Merchants are looking forward to not only this weekend, but the entire fall season. They say it gives them a chance to get ahead while padding their bottom-line.
As Hoos fans ready for this weekend's festivities, businesses around Charlottesville expect a large influx of customers.
"In the summertime it would be easily 50 percent greater than a weekend during the winter months," said Daniel Page, Hamilton's General Manager.
The Chamber of Commerce estimates that each of UVA's 6 home games brings close to $1.2 million to the local economy. Inns and restaurants across town see that spike in business, making it difficult to find a room or even a table.
"Normal weekends in the fall, we are full. We are all booked solid for September and October," said Miriam Tobias of 200 South Street Inn.
"We are booked most Friday and Saturday nights as well as several large parties throughout the week," said Thomas Bowles of the C & O Restaurant.
However football is not the only draw. Charlottesville has a growing number of attractions for tourists.
"We have a very diverse tourism draw here and it's getting stronger all the time," said Tim Hulbert from the Chamber of Commerce.
These growing attractions make it profitable for the local economy. But business owners are not the only people in town enjoying the added revenue.
"Our staff enjoys the busier times of the year just because it helps the vibrancy of the restaurant," Page said.
While of course businesses reap the immediate reward from Homecoming weekend, they are also laying down the groundwork for future customers.
"Someone who comes for homecoming may come back later in the fall or springtime for Festival of the Book or just to come spend a weekend in America's number one community," said Hulbert.
The Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce said that all 3200 rooms throughout the city and the surrounding areas are sold out. The actual homecoming football game between UVA and Duke is on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Scott Stadium.