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Local businesses prepare for final Syracuse-Georgetown game

Keegan Barber | Staff Photographer

Bill Nester, manager and co-owner of Manny's, prepares for the final Syracuse-Georgetown game at his store on Marshall Street. Local businesses have mixed opinions on the effect the game will have on sales.

At Manny’s, manager and co-owner Bill Nester says there’s one type of game shirt that’s out-selling the others: any of the ones for the final Big East matchup in the Carrier Dome between Syracuse and Georgetown.

“Georgetown is huge — this is one to remember,” he said, estimating shirts for the Georgetown game have outsold the “Pluck the Cardinals” design for the Louisville game 20-to-1.

“We want to go out in style. They beat us the last game at Manley Field House — all the old-timers — they all have feelings about that,” he said. “There’s some real deep feelings about winning this last game.”

On Tuesday, SU Athletics announced through Twitter that the Saturday Syracuse-Georgetown game will break the all-time on-campus record for attendance at a NCAA men’s basketball game with 35,012 tickets sold.

The 35,012 tickets break the previous record SU set on Feb. 27, 2010, against Villanova, which sold 34,616 tickets. Still, it appears several local business owners and managers have mixed opinions about what the two teams’ final Big East matchup will mean for sales.

Nester said home games could mean the difference between “several dozen and several hundred” people who go to the store at 151 Marshall St., though it’s company policy not to give out exact numbers.

Acropolis Pizza House employee Steve Papazides said he expects the game to be great for sales.

“This one here is going to be like two home games,” he said, citing the rivalry between the two programs is usually a good match.

When asked what the pizza place is doing to prepare, he said, “prep and pray.”

Papazides said he thinks there’s no reason sales and traffic won’t compare to the Villanova game in 2010.

Funk ‘n Waffles general manager Marty Butts said he thinks Funk ‘n Waffles aren’t likely to be affected more by this particular home game.

“If there’s basketball, we’re busy,” he said.

In preparation for a men’s basketball home game, Butts said the restaurant usually orders between 25-30 percent more food and puts out more chairs and tables. But he said the busiest times of year are during family weekend and commencement.

Holy Shirt! owner John Groat, a Syracuse native and SU alumnus who started the business to help pay his way through school, said fan interest in the company’s products has been extremely high close to the game.

Though the company isn’t planning on putting out a shirt related to the attendance record due to time and licensing challenges, it is selling shirts that say “Beat Georgetown” in commemoration of the final Big East home game.

Groat said he won’t know how sales of the shirt commemorating the then-record-breaking Villanova game will compare to the commemorative “Beat Georgetown” shirts until later in the weekend, but noted how the 2010 game was announced as a sellout three weeks prior to the game.

Sales of the company’s shirts benefit local people instead of large companies, he said, which helps Holy Shirt! stay in business.

Said Groat: “This game is a shot in the arm for our small business.”

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