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Economy / Business

Channelside Benefits from Lightning's Success

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Photo Courtesy of Channelside Bay Plaza, Tampa Facebook

Businesses along Tampa's Channelside District are crediting the Tampa Bay Lightning's success this season for an increase in business.

Shops and restaurants have seen an uptick in the number of visitors, which business owners said is unusual for this time of year.

Adam Vosding, General Manager for Channelside Bay Plaza, said business sales in April were about 35 percent higher compared to the same time last year.

"I don't think we could have asked for, you know, better timing for them to be as successful as they are," said Vosding.

"Obviously, we are in the very infancy of working on redevelopment plans for Channelside, so it's been very exciting to have kind of the spotlight on us a little bit to promote just the area and get people used to coming back."

Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is the force behind the redevelopment that's been attracting new businesses to the area.

Ferg's Live opened just a few months ago across from the Amalie Arena. The restaurant and concert venue was named after Ferg's Sports Bar in St. Petersburg, located near Tropicana Field.

Alex Morrow,  a kitchen manager at Ferg's Live, said people have shown outstanding support for the team and business has been good ever since the venue opened.

"If they're on an away game, we're getting the same turnout and crowd as if it's a home game," said Morrow. "The people are coming down here, they're cheering, you would believe that they [were] right across the street."

The Bolts will face off against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Amalie Arena Wednesday night for game one of the Stanley Cup Finals.

For a listing of official watch parties in Tampa, visit the Lightning's website.