Restaurants and merchandisers hopeful after Canucks clinch playoff spot

Businesses have high sales expectations after team makes postseason for first time since 2020

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By CHARLOTTE HUI, ARLO JUKES and ALY GLENN

For the first time in four years, the Vancouver Canucks have made it to the NHL playoffs, and businesses downtown are looking forward to the sales bump they say will result.

“We expect a big increase in spending in our district, particularly in the bars and restaurants,” Joshua Davidson, director of operations at the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.

Food and beverage revenue anticipated to grow this year

Davidson predicted that this year will be exciting for the restaurant and tourism industry in Vancouver, which is still in a period of recovery since the COVID-19 pandemic. The downtown BIA has already seen an increase in visitation to restaurants and bars in the downtown area, with the playoffs only expected to increase traffic.

“So for example, last year during the playoffs, Edmonton and Toronto saw increased spending by as much as around 121 per cent in bars and restaurants which were near the arena on the game’s night,” Davidson said.

According to the BIA, statistics shows that “as much as 18 per cent of people who attend Canucks games end up visiting Granville Street after the game,” Davidson said.

Merchandise sales expected to increase during playoffs

Joshua Rey, sales associate of sports merchandise store Granville Sports, and a former Langara journalism student, says that the store is already feeling the benefits of the Canucks making it to the playoffs.

“We’ve got more people than the first time in years asking for more Canucks stuff, not just jerseys but people have been coming in buying hats, t-shirts — any piece of merchandise we have,” Rey said.

Davidson agreed. “It’s so great to see our entertainment district and see our bars and restaurants, really busy, really packed with people and it just increased the vibrancy and the enjoyment of that.”

Businesses are expected to be experiencing an even greater boost in revenue during actual game nights.

“We’re very excited. This will hopefully drive our business especially if they go on a deep run,” Rey said.

Simon Fallick, owner of the Hero’s Welcome and The American bars in the downtown area on Georgia Street, said that his businesses definitely feel the boost that a viable Canucks team provides.

“When the Canucks are a good team with a good, watchable, competitive team, we probably see anywhere from like a 20 to 30 per cent bump in sales on the slower nights,” said Fallick.

“And the last time it was during the pandemic. So, you know, the value of that run was a little bit tampered. Just because people were limited in where they could go or how they could go out.” Fallick said.

Sales contingent on success of team

Murray Saunders, the general manager of the Shark Club Sports Bar and Grill, said the economic boost depends on how well the Canucks do in the post-game season.

“A long playoff run is super important from a business standpoint as it ridiculously increases revenue and restaurant traffic,” he said.

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