Small Omaha businesses hurt by CWS, other event cancelations

Local businesses are feeling the economic hurt after major events in the Omaha area have been...
Local businesses are feeling the economic hurt after major events in the Omaha area have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. (WOWT) (WOWT)
Published: Mar. 12, 2020 at 5:58 PM CDT
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Douglas County Health Department officials say we could still be dealing with the coronavirus this summer.

That could be one of the reasons

-- keeping tens of thousands of people home instead of here in Omaha.

That cancellation means a loss of millions of dollars to the City of Omaha.

We really got to consider not just the financial impact of the city but individuals — how it’s going to hurt them,” Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said.

Kevin Culjat is one of those individuals. He owns a bar-and-grill right across the street from the stadium.

Culjat says the bad news just continues to pile up.

“You got concerts now that are canceling, you got arts festivals you don’t know about, you got Berkshire Hathaway you don’t know about,” he said. “To be honest, down in this area and for most small business owners in Council Bluffs and Omaha who rely on these kinds of events in the area, it’s devastating financially.”

“We’re here because of the College World Series. If the College World Series wasn't here we wouldn't have this store here,” he continued.

Rich Tokheim also owns a shop across the street from the College World Series. The dugout sells shirts, hats and everything else to do with the CWS.

His business is wrapped around the series -- and the cancellation will hurt his bottom line.

“It’s probably half our business. It’s half because then people come in and they order from us online,” Tokheim said.

Tokheim said this had to be a tough decision to make but thinks it was the right decision.

“The number one thing is that everybody be safe,” he said.

Omaha Mayor talks about COVID-19 impact

Amid multiple national event cancellations due to coronavirus concerns, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert talks about the economic impact for the city. Today's COVID-19 developments:

Posted by WOWT 6 News on Thursday, March 12, 2020