02/03/2012 10:45 am ET Updated Mar 14, 2012

Super Bowl: Indianapolis Small Businesses Get Ready For Kickoff

The Super Bowl is much more than the nation's most-watched sporting event. The traveling festival of fans creates a business frenzy for the lucky host city, which is charged with transforming itself into a game-ready mecca of football fanaticism. However, this year's host, Indianapolis, is quite different from past locations. Sprouting out of miles and miles of farmland like a pop-up book is the "Circle City," whose charm is far from the usual glitz and glamour that has been expected from past locations.

While Indianapolis plans to stay close to its roots and dole out plenty of Midwestern culture to game-goers, local businesses were sure to be prepared for the madness that descended on them as early as two weeks before the big game. The NFL estimates that between 100,000 and 150,000 people will visit Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI, generating anywhere between $150 million to $400 million in revenue for the city, which adds up to one big payday for local small businesses.

So how does one prepare for such an event? We talked to small businesses and a local government official about their preparations and expectations for the big day.

I've doubled up on staff in the front and back of the house, and I've even recruited friends to help hosting. I did a lot of advertising leading up to this weekend, especially with the downtown hotels, including in-room ads and videos. We're planning on operating the business normally, but I did choose to scale down our menu to make things as efficient as possible.
I bought extra stock in everything -- I added coolers, which all added up to about $5,000 based on the speculation that this is going to be a big weekend for us. We haven't seen too much of a change yet, so I hope the weekend meets expectations or else we'll be set back a month or two.

Walter Bolinger
Red Lion Grog House

We've enclosed our outdoor patio and added three bars to it, so we worked a lot with the city's local code enforcement. We have overstocked everything -- I literally have cases of beer stacked up in my office. At this point, we haven't really seen a big shift in sales, but the amount of people in the city is visible now, so we anticipate things will pick up very soon. We are usually open for lunch and dinner, but for the event we are now open for breakfast as well. We're open 21 hours and staffed 24 hours. We retained most of our normal menu and added a special Super Bowl menu and increased some of our high-ticket items. We are hoping to get completely blown away this weekend. So far this week we've had a lot of the Patriots in here and some of the announcers, like Tony Siragusa.

Jeff Chapman
Sales and Marketing Manager
14 West

Our city is incredibly excited to host Super Bowl XLVI. Hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues downtown are completely booked, accommodating upwards of 150,000 fans. Our businesses are thriving -- it's a tremendous boom for our local economy.

Scott Miller
Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce