Super Bowl Sunday just isn't the same without the Pittsburgh Steelers for fans - or for many local businesses.
"I think this Super Bowl is between two teams no one wants in the Super Bowl," said Steve Horton, owner of CoBRH's Lounge, 1200 Sixth Ave.
He said Steelers fans don't like the Baltimore Ravens, so they don't want them to win, nor do they want the San Francisco 49ers to win, because that would give them six Super Bowls rings and tie them with the Steelers.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Shenk & Tittle manager Jeff Beach hangs Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl merchandise with San Francisco 49ers gear above him at the Logan Valley Mall.
"When the Steelers are in the game, there is more interest and people come out more. We have had a lot of pre-orders for our wings and we have reservations for the bar, but not as many as we would have with the Steelers," Horton said.
A Super Bowl without the Steelers makes a big difference to City Beverage of Altoona, 525 E. Sixth Ave., said General Manager Jake Denis.
He said local businesses depend on people buying food and beer for parties.
"When any local team is in the playoffs, it has a huge impact on us," Denis said.
The same is true for Big Mouth Subs and Catering in the Plank Road Commons and Fat Daddy's BBQ Shak, 200 Pleasant Valley Blvd. Big Mouth Subs owner Chris McDonnell said the store turns out more platters when the Steelers are in the big game, while Fat Daddy's owner Mark Bates said business would be "ridiculous" if the Steelers were in the Super Bowl.
Belmar Hotel, 1501 Fourth Ave., is still anticipating a good crowd.
"A lot of Steelers fans are discouraged, but diehard fans and customers will still be here. People look for a place to celebrate the Super Bowl, and with the specials and activities we have, the event itself brings in customers," said Dawn Pellegrine, manager. "If the Steelers were in it, we would have a more enthusiastic crowd. There would be more excitement about the Super Bowl."
At Zach's Sports & Spirits, 5820 Sixth Ave., owner Tony Pacifico said his business is actually better when the Steelers are not in the game.
"More people have home parties when the Steelers are in it. Bars typically do better when the Steelers are not in the game," Pacifico said.
On the other side of the coin, Matt Muccitelli, owner of Park Audio and Video, 2134 Plank Road, said his business gets a boost when the Steelers are in the Super Bowl or when Penn State is in a big bowl game.
As for clothing purchases, the teams in today's game aren't having much of an impact on business at Shenk & Tittle in the Logan Valley Mall.
Assistant manager Tim Zimmerman said a lot of fans in the area who don't like the Steelers will be rooting for the Ravens.
"We have Ravens and 49ers conference T-shirts and hats. We are selling some. We always have people who want to wear the clothing of the teams in the Super Bowl when they go to Super Bowl parties," he said.
DelGrosso's Amusement Park is seeing an increase in sales for its Super Bowl Sunday chicken barbecue dinner, which benefits the Bellwood-Antis Community Picnic.
Amy Mearkle, DelGrosso's spokeswoman, said the trend in the past has been there are more dinner tickets sold when the Steelers are not in the game because there are fewer Super Bowl parties.
"People enjoy coming and grabbing a meal and going home for the big game," she said.
For those who are pulling together a gameday spread, Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle expects to be busy before the Super Bowl.
"While certainly the excitement is heightened when our customers' favorite teams are in the playoff hunt, Sunday's big game is a major event for food retailers of all types, regardless of which teams are playing," said spokesman Dick Roberts.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.