Comets a smash hit off the ice for local businesses

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - In a move that was 20 years in the making, the Utica Comets coming to town has not only given the City an exciting boost when fans flock to The Aud for games, but it is also giving the city a much needed economic boost as well.
Before and after Comets games, fans are out eating and drinking around Downtown Utica. Local restaurants have seen sales soar due to the resurgence of activity in the area.
In fact, Frank Cristiano, owner of the new sports bar & restaurant, Tony's Audelicious built the establishment behind The Aud, just because comets came to town and he saw an opportunity for business to flourish.
For the Hotel Utica, the host hotel for the Comets, the winter months can usually be slow for business.
However, during the team's inaugural winter here in town, that has been anything but true. According to hotel officials, the Utica fixture has seen sales go up a whopping 25% during this first season of Comets play.
"It's been phenomenal with the visiting teams coming to stay with us the training camps for the Comets, and some of the players have lived with us throughout the season," said Hotel Utica Director of Sales, Jessica Shumway. "So even with parents coming in and friends and family coming in to watch them play, it's been a great experience."
In addition to outside businesses, The Aud itself has benefited tremendously with the return of AHL Hockey.
The 55-year old facility got a major face lift over the summer, complete with new ice, new seats, new lights, and new electronics.
The state even invested $5 million total to make The Aud a premier destination once again.
Team officials said that 200 jobs were filled all around the arena for new personnel manning concessions, working security, and taking up office positions.
It was a move that Uticans have been waiting for, for 20 years. Now that the Comets are finally here, the entire city is reaping in the benefits.


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