Super Bowl Sunday is a big day for merchants too
The Super Bowl is far more than a game to settle the championship of professional football.
It's the day TV viewers who don't even follow the NFL watch every commercial break for the newest and most extravagant ads.
It's the day top name musical acts like the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and this year, the Black Eyed Peas play a mini-concert at halftime.
And it's a day for parties, either at home or at a favorite watering hole.
Super Bowl Sunday is traditionally a big day for sales of pizza and chicken wings. According to a news release from the National Chicken Council, about 1.25 billion chicken wing portions would be consumed over Super Bowl weekend, making it the biggest time of the year for chicken wings.
Looking around several well-known Valley establishments specializing in pizza and wings as game time approached, you wouldn't find much argument with that idea.
At Pudgie's Pizza on Chemung Street in Waverly, owner Kerry Brown estimated his business was up 300 percent from a typical Sunday. "We've got the full staff working and a couple of kids home from college too," Brown said.
A few blocks away at Soprano's Italian Market on Cayuta Avenue in Waverly, Margaret Soprano took a moment from her kitchen duties to announce "we've sold 200 dozen hot wings between here and our other store in Nichols." That was with kickoff time still three hours away. She noted they had added six to eight employees at different times of the day, and that garlic pizza was the number two selling food item.
Howie's Pizza on South Keystone Avenue in Sayre was expecting the rush to start at 4:30 p.m., and Brad Howard, night manager, was ready. "We'll sell 250 to 300 sheet pizzas and use 1300 to 1500 pounds of chicken before halftime, when the traffic drops off," Howard said. He ranked Super Bowl Sunday alongside New Year's Day as the heaviest business days of the year. Howard explained they would have half a dozen delivery drivers among the two dozen management and staff working during the day.
Both Soprano and Howard mentioned that hot and cold subs seem to have fallen out of favor with the Super Bowl Sunday crowd.
Not everyone was planning to spend the game settled down eating pizza and wings in their living room, however. At Tanner's Bar and Grill on Route 199 in Athens, the crowd was gathering at mid-afternoon and there was no question which team claimed the support of the majority. Steeler apparel was all around the bar, which didn't seem to bother co-owner and Packer fan John Thurston as he cooked hot wings in the back room.
"It'll be about 95 percent Pittsburgh fans and 5 percent Green Bay fans, and my partner Ryan Wood is a Steeler fan. If the Steelers win, I have to wear his Steelers jersey, but if the Packers win, he has to wear my Packers jersey. That's our bet," Thurston said with a chuckle.
Meanwhile, Athens resident Dan Cianfoni, along with his wife Jen, was in full Steelers gear and predicting Super Bowl win number seven for the black and gold. Dan Cianfoni traced his Steeler loyalty back to 1979, when he lived in Pittsburgh as the Steelers won their fourth Super Bowl.
For the fans, Super Bowl Sunday can be a roller-coaster ride as the fortunes of their favorite team rise and fall. For some of the businesses who serve them, it looked on Sunday afternoon like a win was already in the book.
Al Robinson can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.