SPOKANE, Wash. - The players are gone, the hoops have been taken down, but local businesses are still feeling the impact of the busy Hoopfest weekend.
The two day tournament brings in an estimated $46 million to the Spokane economy. More than 25,000 players and 225,000 fans need places to sleep, things to do, and food to eat.
Chronic Tacos was only steps away from this year's Nike Center Court. It was the taco shop's first Hoopfest and owner Scott Wurtzbacher said he wasn't sure what to expect. After two days of serving hungry crowds, employees reflected on the busy weekend and said the rush of customers was unlike anything they have ever seen, even during the store's grand re-opening.
"Tables were packed pretty much all day," said supervisor Burke Dupree. "The line was nearly out the door all day."
It was a similar story for the Viking Bar and Grill. The bar sits across the street from the Spokane Arena, and is a hike from center court. Despite the distance, bartenders stayed busy all day. The bar's owner said a typical Saturday night brings in around $5,000 - but on Hoopfest Saturday the bar more than doubled its sales.
Bartender Danica Harnett said, "A lot of other events, there's waves of people. Saturday, it was just constantly people coming in through the door." She added, "With the arena across the street, we're used to being busy."
But Hoopfest weekend was the bar's second busiest. Saturday Garth Brooks concerts beat Hoopfest by a few hundred dollars.
Just like players, many Spokane businesses are looking forward to Hoopfest 2019, which will be the 30th anniversary of the tournament.
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