The long wait is almost over for Buffalo Bills fans. For the first time in 18 years the Bills are in the playoffs and will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in a wild card game Sunday. Win or lose, the game should give some local businesses a reason to shout.
Ahead of the Bills first playoff game since 2000 - grocery stores, bars, restaurants and pizzerias are all gearing up for a big increase in business.
"I have already ordered 50,000 pounds of chicken wings," and Carla Todaro Pantano, owner of La Nova Pizzeria, said she also expects their Buffalo and Williamsville locations will go through about 70 pounds of cheese.
"So I'll have at least four or five people just shredding cheese. Non-stop, non-stop," and Todaro Pantano said, staff will be working around the clock, starting Friday, just doing prep work for Sunday. But, she says La Nova has already been hit with a surge in pizza and wing sales to Bills fans nationwide.
"I think we're almost up to over 800 orders that have already gone to Federal Express, UPS," Todaro Pantano said.
Quenching the playoff drought will also likely mean lots of beer and other beverages.
"Business is a booming," Bob Kolasa said, with a chuckle.
Kolasa is Executive Vice President and General Manager for Try-It Distributing which services about 2,300 stores, bars and restaurants across the region. Kolasa says, compared to a year ago, beer sales are up a little over 10-percent.
"So many of our customers are mom and pop organizations too. So it's nice to see them get a little bit of an uptick. Plus our larger customers. January tends to be pretty slow - so this is a great shot in the arm for our industry and also the local economy," Kolasa said.
Bill Casale, the General Manager of Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, Lafayette Brewing and Buffalo RiverWorks says, as soon as the Bills made the playoffs, he started planning viewing parties at the three properties.
"We're having $3.50 pint specials, which was our pricing the last time the Bills made the playoffs," said Casale.
Casale said they're expecting thousands of football fans at Riverworks alone.
"We're expecting definitely at least a 50 percent increase in sales at all of our properties," Casale said.
The kitchens he oversees will also be well-stocked. Between the three restaurants, they ordered hundreds of cases of chicken wings and over a ton of pot roast.
"The purveyors were very happy to see that as well. So it's definitely a spin-off effect going on between the entire region and benefiting from this playoff run," Casale said.