Series helps local business

By Eddie Garcia

DeKALB | After 108 years without a title, Cubs fans are starved for a championship, and DeKalb’s businesses are benefiting from the successful season.

“I don’t go to bars unless it is for the World Series,” said Peggy Franklin, Rochelle Township High School English teacher during the Sunday night Cubs game at O’Leary’s Ale House, 260 E. Lincoln Highway. “I am totally tired [from watching late games]. I’ve already told my high schoolers I’m getting less sleep because of this series, and I am going to be crabby until it is over. I don’t have cable at home, and I don’t watch TV unless it’s the Cubs or Bears.”

Bars have different schedules, stores have formatted items differently, and Cubs blue beverage specials are being offered.

“People come in and they stay longer,” said Jeff Dobie, owner and operator of Fatty’s Pub and Grille, 1312 W. Lincoln Highway. “It helps those nights where normally people aren’t out, [such as] the Sunday [and] Monday night games.”

Dobie said the pub plays the Cubs victory song and have adapted its drink menu to specialize in Cubs-colored beverages.

“Every night, we play ‘Go Cubs Go’ and even added blue drinks to our beverage menu,” Dobie said.

Dobie said the Cubs World Series run is a good problem to have, as he has to be able to accommodate the normal weekend dinner crowd and the overflow of Cubs fanatics.

Local places have used the Cubs success to upgrade old equipment.

“[We] are actually replacing our projector [that] has been broken for a couple years and have added a new TV,” said Jeanann Witmer, general manager of O’Leary’s Ale House. “[On Oct. 22], it felt like you were in downtown Chicago in here. It was just a madhouse. There wasn’t a single inch that was open as everyone was cheering wearing Cubs gear and chanting like they were at the game.”

O’Leary’s manager Mackenzie Baker said have seen around a 25 percent increase in business during week nights, but many more come in during the weekend. Baker said unlike Wrigleyville bars, O’Leary’s will not be charging cover to view the World Series.

Baker said those interested in watching the game should arrive around an hour early to ensure a prime seat.

Cubs apparel can be spotted throughout the community, as local stores have promoted Cubs clothing to bring in more customers. Wal-Mart, 2300 Sycamore Road, has reformatted its merchandise to incorporate more Cubs gear and party essentials.

“In conjunction with the Halloween weekend, with family gatherings and block parties and that kind of stuff, we’ve worked hard to plan extra merchandising,” said Grant Sjoberg, general manager of Wal-Mart. “We’ve worked with our vendors to get the customer’s favorite products into the store.”

Sjoberg also said they have set up extra merchandising features in places that aren’t normally set up, making it easier for people to get their Cubs gear.