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After a slow holiday weekend last year, downtown businesses are ready for summer crowds to return

Ballpark Vienna Hotdogs
Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 21:27:51-04

DENVER — This summer is shaping up to be a busy one for bars and restaurants around the Rockies stadium. Along with a return of the baseball crowds, Fourth of July firework displays are happening once again this year, promising to bring thousands to the stadium.

RELATED: Where to watch 4th of July fireworks in Colorado this year

After that, Colorado will host the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, meaning even more crowds heading to the area and bringing big business to the area.

Last year, business was tough for Jeremy Williamson, the owner of Ballpark Vienna Beef, a hot dog shop one block from the stadium. It was so bad Williamson decided to close down his All-American restaurant on a holiday known for hot dogs.

“I was deciding not to open on July 4 just because it was super dead out here,” he said. “Our business dropped maybe 5% of normal.”

Business was so bad the shop made just $65 on Opening Day for the Rockies last year.

Williamson stopped scheduling staff and cut his hot dog orders down to just one box a week. He ran his entire business through a walk up window and outdoor patio space and closed down each day at 3 p.m.

“My main goal is to break even through the year and come back next year and try it again,” Williamson told Denver7 last year.

This year, business is starting to ramp up once again. Williamson is seeing about 75% of his normal sales and is hoping for big crowds over the holiday weekend and All-Star games.

The shop is even back to keeping its doors open until 10 p.m. once again and he has ordered 20 cases of hot dogs for the week.

“This year, it’s a completely different ballgame,” he said. “We have the All-Star Game coming and I just really don’t know what to expect with that. I think a lot of people are going be here for that one.”

The big challenge now won’t be keeping the doors open but remembering how to keep up with the crowds after a year of slow business.

“Everybody is out of practice. You were used to making 100 hot dogs and hour and then you go down to like one every two hours. You lose your touch,” he said.

But, he’s hired more staff and says they’ll be ready for the crowds whenever they return.