Small businesses to get boost from NFL

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Downtown small businesses are hoping for a boost thanks to the NFL. When the Super Bowl comes to the Valley in February, Phoenix will be home to a host of events Including the interactive "NFL Experience."

The Phoenix Convention Center will be the epicenter of it all. It'll be filled with all kinds of activities, drawing hundreds of thousands of fans of all types from football to celebrity watchers.

Business owners are hoping to see the biggest benefit of all.

"Oh man. I said, 'Bring it on.' I mean, we love it," said Jose Andres Giron of Arizona Latino Arts and Culture Center.

Giron says the business is struggling, so naturally he welcomed news of Super Bowl festivities. His shop sits in the heart of the blueprint for the upcoming NFL Experience and relies heavily on the Spanish-speaking customer.

"We're very engaged with the Hispanic community, making sure from a customer service perspective that volunteers speak Spanish, that signage ... the website, delivered content, and resources in Spanish," said NFL Senior Vice President of Events Peter O'Reilly.

O'Reilly briefed the media Wednesday on a host of upcoming events leading up to the Super Bowl and the committee's commitment to boosting business in a more urban location this time around.

"Clearly, Phoenix and downtown Phoenix has so much new energy since we were here in 2008 that it felt like a great opportunity to really make this the hub of activity," he said.

"It gives struggling businesses an opportunity to maybe catch up a little bit. For that two-week period, I think that it'll be like nothing we've ever seen," said AJ Sulka of Majerle's.

Downtown restaurants like Majerle's that have been around for years have seen gradual downtown growth, and newer businesses hope all the excitement surrounding the game will help pick up the pace.

"It's a huge city, but it doesn't have a walking downtown like most cities of its population, so it's really strange to be working a coffee shop without consistent foot traffic down here," said Jordan Wolfe of Cartel Coffee Lab.

There will be plenty of free activities including concerts for those looking not to spend too much money.

When all is said and done more, than one million people are expected to converge on downtown Phoenix.