Omaha businesses feel the void of no College World Series

Published: Jun. 11, 2020 at 10:51 PM CDT
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The College World Series was scheduled to start in just a few hours until the pandemic caused its cancelation. The loss of this event had businesses reeling during a season that is typically very lucrative.

Within a radius of a few blocks, you’ll find businesses catering to the CWS crowd. Restaurants, bars, and sporting stores.

The Dugout owner Rich Tocheim said the whole reason his business is downtown is because of CWS.

Tocheim has been selling sporting apparel to CWS fans for 24 years.

“To not have the series is devastating. It’s just -- it’s kind of thrown our business for a loop,” he said.

Tocheim counts on university games and large sporting events to bring in the majority of his customers. Without them, he’s been forced to cut prices just to keep some money circulating.

“So no teams played, people just aren’t excited about buying the apparel,” he said.

COVID-19, curfews, and the lack of sports fans in town Thursday night has left the Happy Bar at 16th and California Streets pretty quiet, too.

“It’s jammed for 14 days in here. So sure, it’ll take a bite out of us just like everyone else,” said Happy Bar owner Robert Pascarella.

LSU fans are known to tailgate in the fields just across from Happy bar. But just like many other lots, they sit empty of fans.

“People were afraid that we wouldn’t be here but it was never a thought that we would be here and the College World Series would not,” Pascarella said.

An area that should be alive right now sits quietly behind closed doors. Thousands of temporary jobs no longer available according to CWS Executive Director Kathryn Morrissey.

“A lot of them have said they’re going to miss the camaraderie of working with the people that they always do this time of year. They’re going to miss showcasing the city, they’re going to miss rolling out the red carpet,” Morrissey said.

Tomorrow marks another traditional Omaha event that has come and gone -- leaving many to hope next year is different.

Businesses in the area told 6 News the best way to support them and help them through this rough period is to come and invest your dollars in local businesses that are following health directives.