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With no CWS, businesses near TD Ameitrade Park hurting financially

Posted at 6:41 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 19:41:48-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Without the 2020 College World Series taking place this June, businesses located near TD Ameritrade Park area seeing a hit financially.

On Friday, The Dugout, a sports apparel store located across the street from TD Ameritrade Park at the corner of 13th and Cuming, announced it would be closing its doors at the end of the month. Opened in 1997, the Dugout has been at its location across the street from the stadium since 2011. This upcoming season would’ve been the 24th College World Series for the store.

“People we don’t see in Omaha year-round they always stop in and always come here,” said Rich Tokheim, the store’s owner. “This was the one week where you reconnected with everybody so not having that reconnection will be tough. Husker fans are great but College World Series fans are even better. They’re polite, very cordial, we’ll be packed in here.”

Without the CWS taking place, Tokheim said The Dugout is losing 60 percent of its sales. Include lost revenues from the Big Ten baseball tournament and NCAA men’s basketball tournament and the percentage is higher.

“It must be like being a merchant and not having Christmas,” said Kathryn Morrissey, the executive director of College World Series of Omaha, Inc. "Their financial models are built around the College World Series and having the stadium active.”

“It’s obviously rough for the business because we do a lot of the business in those two weeks. But it’s also from a personal standpoint rough because it is so much fun, it’s a lot of work but it is so much fun to be down here during that time,” said Pat McEvoy, who works at Rocco’s Pizza and Cantina across the street from TD Ameritrade Park.

He said the owners of the restaurant prepared well and their location will be okay.

“We do a vast majority of our business in our three months,” McEvoy said. “With March Madness, Swim Trials, Big Ten Baseball getting canceled, it wiped out a huge chunk.”

Unlike Rocco’s Pizza & Cantina, The Dugout will not be around come July. Named after America’s pastime, the sports’ absence at the collegiate level has helped cause the store’s demise.

“The stadium is your friend when it has people in it but when it doesn’t have people it’s your enemy because it is a big blank space over there that nobody goes there,” Tokheim said.

If people want to visit The Dugout one more time before it closes, Tokheim said they’re tentatively planning for the last day open to be June 28th.

Watch reporter Phil Bergman’s story in the above video.