Monster Jam to boost sales for Jacksonville businesses

Businesses welcome downtown events, including UFC's first female fight

Author: Kumasi Aaron, Reporter, weekend anchor, kaaron@wjxt.com
Published On: Feb 23 2013 04:14:58 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 23 2013 11:10:00 PM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

It's not just fans who are looking forward to Monster Jam and other events happening this weekend in downtown Jacksonville. Businesses in the area gear up for it as well, as for many of them, it brings a welcome boost in sales.

Several restaurant owners say they are ready for the trucks to roll.

IMAGES: Monster trucks roll  | View/send photos/video

Chef Love wasted no time preparing for the larger-than-normal crowds expected to fill Celebs Corner Kitchen on Saturday.

"I started prepping first thing this morning when I walked in the door," said Love. "I started getting the turkey legs ready for the grill. I started prepping my onions and stuff."

With Monster Jam at EverBank Field just a few blocks away, Love said it's something they look forward to every year.

"We have different people coming in from all sides of town from out of town just to experience us, so it's awesome," said Love.

Monster Jam is just one of many events downtown this weekend. Jacksonville University men's and women's basketball teams both have games at Veterans Memorial Arena, all just blocks away from Celebs Corner Kitchen.

For a restaurant that just opened three years ago, the exposure to tens of thousands of people is invaluable.

"We've been struggling to get attention here from customers," said Niki Brunson, owner of Celebs Corner Kitchen. "We get an opportunity to share with customers that were here that the building is not abandoned anymore, because it sat empty for about ten years."

But it's not just businesses close to Everbank Field that expect a boost. Restaurants at Jacksonville Landing are getting ready for the crowds, too.

At Chicago Pizza, Manager Jason Truitt said February is normally a slower month for restaurants. Monster Jam and other local events tonight, combined with UFC's first female fight, are a much welcome bright spot.

Truitt said he'll be bringing in extra staff.

"Normally on a Friday or Saturday night, we can normally go with about five or six servers on the floor, as well as a patio bartender or an outside bartender. We added about three," said Truitt. "About four more people are going to be coming in than normal."

All of this is in preparation for a big turnout, sparked by a big event that leaves a lasting economic mark.