Local businesses saw increased income from success of Bainbridge football

Published 7:48 pm Friday, December 18, 2015

Hundreds in the stands at Centennial Field wore custom-made shirts by local businesses.

Restaurants were full both before and after games on Friday nights.

During the playoffs, hotels were packed with guests from out of town who came to watch their team play the Bearcats.

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The school system may have netted $135,492.38 through the first 13 games of the 2015 football season, but private businesses around town came out with a nice boost of income as well.

“We made around an extra $1,500 for the day,” said Debby Haywood, assistant manager at the Bainbridge Truck Stop, about the Friday Bainbridge played St. Pius X in the State Quarterfinals. “We had 75 more people than usual after the game. But we found room for everybody.”

Bonnie Blue House owner Jared Godwin also said there was an increase in business on Fridays before the games. While waiting lists are not uncommon at the popular Bainbridge restaurant, they were bigger on Fridays.

“It wasn’t just Bainbridge people,” Godwin said. “We have limited seating capacity, and as much as people did come, everyone was on the waiting list. There were lots of people from out of town.”

Hampton Inn manager Leslie Bernier remembered looking at her bookings for the weekend on Thursday, Nov. 19, and wondered aloud why there were so many people from Atlanta in her hotel’s rooms.

They were Sandy Creek fans, paying between $129 and $149 for the night to see the Patriots.

“(Sandy Creek) was a little harder for them to get them in,” Bernier said. A softball tournament that same weekend had filled up the Hampton Inn and few rooms were left. “We turned away a lot. We picked up about seven, and we turned away probably that many more.”

The next week for the St. Pius X game, Bernier had 12 rooms booked for fans. One even wrote Bernier a letter thinking her for the hospitality of Bainbridge. It read that the person’s family enjoyed everything about their time in Bainbridge—except for the final 18-17 score.

“I was ecstatic,” Bernier said. “It was a great thing to see our football team making money for Bainbridge.”

Holiday Inn saw even more success. According to Director of Sales Chelsey Pearson, there were 30 rooms rented out to Golden Lions fans and parents.

Pearson said it was great to have the football team drawing in crowds like they did this season, and wished the Bearcats best of luck next year.