Local businesses prepare for boost from NBA All-Star events

Feb 10, 2023, 5:54 PM | Updated: Feb 11, 2023, 2:23 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — If you’ve been in downtown Salt Lake City recently, it’s hard to miss what’s coming. The posted signs, the beginning of road closures, and the excitement building at businesses across downtown all point to the NBA All-Stars.

“The vibe, the energy has definitely changed,” said Stephen Peck, owner of The Break Sports Grill across the street from Vivint Arena.

Two months since their opening, they are getting ready for a boost in business.

“We are in the epicenter, of course, of all things All-Star,” Peck said. “So, next week we are expecting things to get a little crazy.”

The Utah Jazz is expecting similar All-Star numbers as Cleveland saw in 2022 — 121,000 people from 45 states and 24 countries. It had a $250 million total economic impact. Chicago saw 140,000 people back in 2020.

“It just boosts our economy, you know, which is phenomenal,” Martin Norman said. “It’s what keeps us in business.”

Norman expects more visitors will mean more customers looking for a piece of Utah. He opened Uniquely Utah Souvenir at a difficult time during the pandemic. But the return of big events to the convention center just a couple block away has helped business take off over the last year or so.

“The convention center actually helps out a bunch,” he said. “It’s kind of our bread and butter. That’s why we’re so close to the convention center.”

Norman said about 90% of their merchandise is local and they’re making sure they are stocked up on their most popular items before next week when thousands come to town.

While much of the business will no doubt come from visitors, Peck said they’re bringing in extra help from their other locations to make sure they can also continue to serve their local customers.

“We definitely want to have a local vibe,” he said. “We want to take care and make sure that the people of Utah feel like they are a part of this party.”

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Local businesses prepare for boost from NBA All-Star events