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Game day excitement benefits from home team advantage

Local shoppers, retailers gear up for Super Bowl Sunday
By: Andrew Westrope, Staff Writer
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If fan excitement translates to higher Super Bowl snack sales, then local football fans and food retailers are both in for a big weekend.

With the San Francisco 49ers in play, even Auburn’s less dedicated sports fans say they have game day plans, and local grocers and restaurants are stocking their shelves.

Save Mart Store Manager Pamela Dobson said Super Bowl weekend is currently the focus of the store’s marketing and supply chain, and the fact that the 49ers are on the field will “absolutely” make a difference in sales.

“Since it’s a local team, it makes it more attractive for people to have parties,” she said. “Any time, if it’s baseball, basketball or football, if it’s a local team, everybody’s behind them. Even if it’s not their favorite team, it’s still a local team … It’s a crazy atmosphere.”

Dobson estimated that game day products would make up more than 50 percent of the store’s sales this weekend, with Friday and Saturday being the busiest, followed by last-minute errand runners on Sunday morning.

“The larger portion of what people will buy for Friday, Saturday and Sunday will all be geared toward the game,” she said. “It won’t be their regular shopping.”

Grocery Outlet Manager Jeremy Lampman said his store has already scheduled more staff and stocked more game day products, expecting demand to pick up on Thursday. He guessed that the weekend would mean a 10 to 15 percent bump in sales compared to an average weekend, with considerably higher snack sales but lower regular grocery sales.

“It’s typically a really busy time, because it falls around the first part of the month, so it kind of compounds and makes for really good sales,” Lampman said. “It throws off the balance of people’s traditional shopping, where they buy a lot of snacks and that type of food versus their normal meal shopping.”

George Miller, the pit master at Flying Pig BBQ in Auburn, said this weekend will be the restaurant’s second Super Bowl season in business. He’s excited to see what game day weekend will bring this year.

“As a food business with a large part of our business as carryout, we’re hoping to make a good day out of it. We’ve done a little bit of advertising, and there’s word-of-mouth, and we’re having some specials. Otherwise, we’re a place where we have people dine in and we have a big-screen TV,” he said. “(The game) is a big carnivore kind of a thing.”

Miller said weekend orders have already started trickling in, and he’ll have backup to deal with game day traffic.

“Staff is all family. We’ll probably have three people here instead of the one that we normally have on Sundays, but we’re having our Super Bowl party here, too,” he said. “So we’ll just be here for the game having fun.”

In Auburn, the 49ers’ role in the Super Bowl has piqued the interest of zealous and casual fans alike.

Auburn resident Joe Dostalek said he doesn’t usually follow football but is “slightly” more interested this year because a San Francisco team is in the mix, and he plans to watch the game with friends. David Seghezzi also described the big game as primarily a social function, but with more interesting stakes this year.

“I’m usually not interested in it, but I was happy to see the 49ers get in,” he said. “This time I’m actually looking forward to watching.”

Christine Robinson, who watches the game with family every year, said this year’s game day anticipation is especially high for the same reason.

“I think it’s a little bit more exciting, definitely,” she said. “I’m pretty excited. Normally we just have a little get-together, so nothing huge.”

Also a regular fan, Auburn resident Karin Reeves said the competition is more gripping to fans with a horse in the race, but the spirit of get-togethers is still the main attraction.

“(We) just go to someone’s house and have a big party,” she said. “You’re around friends that you know, and everyone’s in a tug-of-war with their team, so it’s usually fun.”