Retailers, others busier with Cubs than Stanley Cup win
During the Cubs, Dodgers series, sales at Clark Street Sports, with stores throughout the suburbs, jumped 10 times what they usually are in October.
Now that the Cubs are in the World Series, sales have soared 20-fold, said Clark Street Sports co-owner Jason Caref.
"This has been so phenomenal, that it's been far better than any day when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup," said Caref, who has stores in Aurora, Gurnee, Vernon Hills, Northbrook, Rosemont, Lombard and elsewhere.
And that Stanley Cup was long in coming, too.
Cubs T-shirts for $28, gray locker room caps for $40 and other products are selling out.
"We're hoping to get more, but the manufacturers are having a hard time keeping up with the demand," Caref said.
Retailers, restaurants and even a junk removal service are all seeing a bump in business since the Chicago Cubs made it to the playoffs. And this week's World Series also is expected to spark consumers to spend even more, local businesses predict.
Win or lose, the North Side team has helped to boost morale and the local economy, mostly because long-awaiting Cubs fans now have their day at the cash register, businesses said.
"It's been 108 years since the Cubs won the World Series and 71 since they were even in the World Series. That's a long time for all this demand to build up," said Jeremiah Zimmer, senior community marketing manager for Dick's Sporting Goods. He oversees stores in Chicago, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Niles and elsewhere.
Dick's opened their stores late Saturday after the Cubs won the National League championship series and early Sunday, quickly selling out the popular gray locker room caps and T-shirts. Lines formed outside at some stores, while steady streams of customers packed others, Zimmer said.
Dick's stores will remain open longer to accommodate eager fans after the World Series games.
"We have three to four truckloads of merchandise coming in daily now and it's been pandemonium," Zimmer said. "If the Cubs win, it's going to be controlled chaos."
Besides fans converging on retailers, other businesses are also seeing a boost from Cubs mania.
The Junk Removal Dudes, based in Sycamore and North Aurora, said business is usually slow in the fall. But since the Cubs made it to the World Series, it's been hectic.
Owner Alex Broches said his crew has been working 12-hour days helping Cub fans clean their homes of unwanted items to make room for World Series parties.
"Since the Cubs have been doing so well, we noticed a massive spike in calls," Broches said.
"One thing we noticed from our customers is that they want to have Cubs parties at their homes, but they needed to make room. So they needed unnecessary junk taken out of their houses -- old couches, desks, chairs, tables, basements cleaned out, garages. It's been so exciting watching the Cubs and talking about the Cubs with our customers. It's almost as if we're friends even after meeting just for a few minutes removing their junk from their homes."
While bars and restaurants long have been gathering spots for sports fans, a few in the area are offering World Series specials.
Buona said if the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, it will treat 1,800 fans to Chicago's original Italian beef sandwich.
The family-owned restaurants will celebrate the end of the team's 108-year drought by giving away free 7-inch beef sandwiches to the first 108 fans who show up on the day after Chicago wins.
Also, Famous Dave's is taking $10 off its All American BBQ Feast for every to-go order on World Series game days.
And to celebrate the start of the World Series Tuesday, Chipotle offered a buy-one-get-one-free deal.
Customers dressed in Cubs gear were able to purchase a burrito, bowl, salad or tacos, and get another for free.