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College World Series boosting local vendors

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 23:11:20-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Last June, The Dugout located at the corner of 13th and Cuming announced it would be permanently closing its doors after the College World Series was canceled.

Now only one storefront College World Series apparel shop remains in the downtown area.

Sports Mania has been coming to the College World Series for the past 12 years and has been downtown for the past nine years.

Owner John Smith says in that time he’s learned how to keep up with the demand.

“My challenge as the owner - and doing it for the amount of years I have - you got to react, and you got to get more product," Smith said. "You got to feed the frenzy.”

He says this year, Mississippi State and Texas really stand out as fan bases with buying power.

“These guys from Texas have been here 37 times, so they have a lot of history of coming up here, along with the fact that there are a lot Omaha fans that are Texas Longhorn fans," Smith said.

Just one week into the series, Smith says he isn’t even close to leaving Omaha and its baseball fans.

“I got out of Jacksonville, Florida, our home base, on June 1," Smith said. "I get to go home about July 15. I spend more time in Omaha than almost any other city in the country by days. It takes a lot of work.”

He’s expecting this series, as it comes down to the final few, to be great for merchants like himself and the city as a whole.

Sports Mania is located at the corner of 10th and Dodge, and they also have a tent in the baseball village directly outside the stadium.

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