Foodservice already is big business in Ohio, and some major events looming on the calendar should help continue that trend.
“Columbus is very excited about hosting the NHL All-Star Game,” said Premier ProduceOne partner Erv Pavlofsky. “Cincinnati is hosting the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in the summer. There’s a lot of exciting things happening in all three of our largest downtown areas.”
Cleveland doesn’t have an All-Star Game on its agenda, but the city is hosting the Republican National Convention in summer 2016.
The NHL estimates the economic effect of its All-Star Game, which is actually a four-day event, will be $20 million. The game itself is set for Jan. 25 at Nationwide Arena, which is the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“We have seats for the Blue Jackets games, and we’ll definitely be there,” said Alex DiNovo, vice president of Columbus-based DNO Inc.
More importantly, a lot of other people will be there, too.
“It brings in a lot of people, and there are all kinds of events,” DiNovo said. “People come to town and go out to eat. The more events in the city, the more people will be in the city. It helps everybody.”
Anthony Arena, owner of Columbus-based Arena Produce, said he expected the All-Star Game to give his company a “nice boost.”
“There are a ton of restaurants in the area around the arena, and we also do business with the hotel closest to the arena,” he said.
This year’s baseball All-Star Game had a $70 million impact on host city Minneapolis. The 2015 game is scheduled for July 14 at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.
Finally, Cleveland beat out Dallas for the Republican National Convention. The 2012 RNC had an impact of more than $400 million on host Tampa, Fla.
“We can’t wait,” said Tom Sirna, president of Ravenna-based Sirna and Sons Produce. “There have been multiple new hotel openings in the last year in downtown Cleveland and more to come. Hilton is planning to also have a 600-room hotel open in time. This convention will bring millions into the city’s restaurants, hotels and every other place they can spend their money.”
Columbus is one of the cities bidding for the Democratic National Convention along with Birmingham, Ala.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Philadelphia; and Phoenix.
“That would be huge,” said Jamie Sanfillipo, president and head buyer of Columbus-based Sanfillipo Produce.
According to the National Restaurant Association, there were nearly 22,000 eating and drinking establishments in Ohio in 2013. The state’s restaurants were expected to register nearly $18 billion in sales this year.
“The restaurant industry in the state of Ohio has done well throughout the recession and outlook for the remainder of 2014 is very positive,” said Maureen O’Rourke, director of marketing and strategic partnerships for the Ohio Restaurant Association.