MINNEAPOLIS – Twin Cities businesses were prepared for a week of nonstop action. But some say the crowds have been smaller than they expected.
At Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza in the North Loop, the Saturday crowd was steady. Many of the people coming in off the snowy streets wore Patriots or Eagles gear. Still, there were empty seats.
“We kind of thought that starting last Friday there was going to be this mad rush of people downtown and in the Twin Cities and it just kind of didn't surface,” said manager Kristina Lawson.
Lawson said other restaurant owners she’d talked to had the same experience. Business was slow early in the week and picked up a bit by Thursday night.
She suspects that concerns over traffic and crowds kept locals at home.
“It's been a lot of fun but not at all what we thought it was going to be like,” she said.
At Dancing Ganesha restaurant, just a block from Super Bowl Live, Manager Joti Singh said business was actually down throughout Super Bowl Week.
He, too, said the out-of-towners didn’t make up for the local customers who avoided downtown.
“I think people are kind of afraid to come out because too much traffic,” he said.
Uber and Lyft drivers had complained early in the week that too many had signed up to drive and not enough visitors had come to the Twin Cities.
“Way too many people signed up and they put a little bit of false promises out there. They thought there’d be more traffic than there was,” said Uber driver Chad Holmes.
Still, he said business had picked up and Thursday through Saturday were busy. “Thank goodness for the last couple days.”
Despite disappointment in the lack of huge crowds, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for small businesses. As always, Minnesotans found a silver lining.
“All of the people who have been in town are great. It's been a ton of fun, so that has been the plus side of it all,” said Lawson.