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Businesses Bullish On Bears Game

By: Cheryl V. Jackson

Jan 22, 2011

Sunday's Bears-Packers showdown is a score for local businesses.

The Bears' advance to the NFC Championship game is providing a welcome boost in a typically quiet time of year.

Lincolnwood-based distributor Louis Glunz Beer Inc. Is seeing sales this month up 29 percent over January 2010.

"That's almost unheard of for this time of year!" said Jerry Glunz, general manager. "Normally, nothing really happens until St. Patrick's Day."

The game and its hype has pushed sales of big screen televisions to Super Bowl week levels at Abt Electronics, headquartered in Glenview.

"[Game] ticket prices are crazy expensive. We've got cold Chicago weather. So the choice of going to the game or buying a TV in a lot of cases is easy," said Co-President Jon Abt.

A 42"-screen plasma set is going for less than $450. A game ticket can sell for more than $1,000.

The chain also is doing brisk business in grills, popcorn poppers, beer kegs and other items that make for tailgate and Bears watch parties.

Bars and restaurants are calling in extra staffers to deal with anticipated crowds for the day that also has televised matchups between the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings and the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game.

"It's definitely a day where it's all hands on deck," said Tony Bisciglia, general manager at Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, 41 E. Superior, which will up staff by 30 percent Sunday. "The phones are ringing off the hook this week with people trying to get reservations for tables."

Chicago playoff games help increase business ten-fold, he said.

Trump Chicago Chef Frank Brunacci wasn't initially as excited.

The Green Bay game would conflict with the Australian Marketplace fund-raiser he's coordinating to benefit Chicago's Mercy Home for Boys & Girls.

"We thought the Bears game was really going to hurt attendance," he said.

So he turned the $45 event featuring Australian street food, beer and wine and lavish raffled prizes into a five-star tailgating event throughout Trump Chicago's 16th floor.

Flat screen televisions, and an 8-foot by 6-foot screen will show the game in some areas.

"We thought 'Why not just make it a Bears party hosted by the Aussies?" He said. "Bear down! You know?"

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