By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item
SSOUTH WILLIAMSPORT —
As players, fans and media turn their attention to the annual Little League World Series, local businesses are preparing for an influx of sports fans who eat and stay at venues across the region.
Damon’s Grill near Lewisburg typically sees a 20- to 30-percent increase in business during the week of the series, hosting teams from the series as well as fans looking to come in and watch a game or relax after a day at the stadium, said general manager Kelly Yarger.
“We try to prepare in advance as much as we can,” she said. “We try to increase staffing and ... we keep the restaurant open later.”
Business is also helped by the two hotels in the same complex, both of which are booked up this week, Yarger said.
The Watson Inn in Watsontown is almost at capacity, too, general manager Pam Showers said.
“We have a couple days here or there where we have one or two rooms,” she said. “But we’re pretty much booked up until the 26.”
The Watson Inn hosts a regular group of California fans, who have gotten to know the staff and the area, Showers said.
“We know them on a first-name basis,” she said.
The Watson Inn also broadcasts the games on the restaurant’s televisions and encourages the public to come in and watch the action, Showers said. “We love this season,” she added.
More and more visitors are turning to hotels in the Valley, with the natural gas industry taking up many of the rooms in Lycoming County’s hotels, said Andrew Miller, executive director of the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau.
And with more people staying in the region’s hotels, there are more people in the area spending money, Miller said. The Visitors Bureau is able to put brochures out at the Little League complex showcasing the features of the Valley’s businesses, such as a new “Sweet Treats of the Susquehanna Valley,” brochure, featuring some places to get ice cream.
Mom’s Dutch Kitchen in Danville saw big crowds for Wednesday’s Grand Slam Parade, said Shubreet Sidhu, the daughter of the restaurant’s owner.
“It was busy all day,” she said. “Most of the people were with little kids, who had their jerseys on.”
The restaurant, located near Interstate 80, is popular with series fans, Sidhu said.
“It increases every single year,” she said.
Other area businesses are also hoping to attract crowds, posting messages on social media inviting Little League fans and players to visit.
“Welcome Little Leaguers!” wrote Country Cupboard on Wednesday on a post encouraging guests to visit the restaurant’s bakery.
Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland posted photos from a float the zoo had in the Grand Slam parade Wednesday evening.
“We had a blast meeting all the Little League fans at the parade last night,” the post reads.