Businesses hopeful with NCAA volleyball in Omaha

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 5:19 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - COVID restrictions reduced the number of fans allowed to attend the NCAA volleyball tournament and that has cut down the number of people in town visiting.

The Old Market isn’t as jammed packed as it would be with big events in the city. Business at Hollywood Candy has been steady but the volleyball crowd didn’t provide the increase in business that was expected.

“With the tournament coming in, with the bubble teams and things like that, they’re so limited on the number of people that can watch it. Not a lot of people have come in following them along,” said Larry Richling, Hollywood Candy.

Owner Richling is hoping for larger crowds and more customers when the volleyball tournament moves into the final four.

“I understand this weekend they’re supposed to open up the arena or something, I think more people can come,” said Richling.

“They’ll be people in the arena, they’ll be selling tickets for that. We’re hoping to be a little bit busier than what we have been for the rest of the tournament,” said Peter Violi, Old Mattress Bar & Grill.

Peter, the manager at the Old Mattress Factory, also hopes for bigger crowds as we move deeper into the tournament but says in this age of COVID, he’s grateful for any extra customers that come into town.

“I mean it’s a step forward, so every little step forward helps everything and everybody else downtown so while it may not be what we’re expecting, it certainly was more than what we were getting. So that’s a benefit for everyone down here,” said Violi.

Right now, managers are looking forward to bigger crowds at the USA Swim Trials and hoping for normal capacity at this summer’s College World Series.

Peter is hoping to fill in more seats in the bar and grill, Larry is hoping more people will walk through the isles of his candy store. All of that would be sweet for Omaha businesses.

“So that’s a big start, I think that’s something that will allow us to continue to get people coming in the door because I think with this COVID, everybody is looking for something fun and a new experience and we’re definitely an experience here.”

MECA officials say the USA Swimming Trials will be at about 50% capacity, still nothing definitive about teh capacity at the College World Series.

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