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'It’s somewhat defeating': Some KC businesses say NFL Draft weekend sales were lower than expected

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Posted at 10:38 PM, Apr 30, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City is officially off the clock with the 2023 NFL Draft coming to an end Saturday.

Despite the excitement, some local businesses say they experienced lower sales than expected.

Cafe Cà Phê took to social media Sunday, sharing the coffee shop experienced its slowest weekend in sales since opening its brick-and-mortar in August.

"As much as we loved seeing NFL fun, our shop was empty," Cafe Cà Phê's post read.

Less than a 10-minute drive away, West Bottoms business Fetch also shared concerns about the reality of the draft weekend.

Fetch co-owner Stephanie Miller says her team was busy preparing for the draft in the days leading up to the event.

“We were all kind of excited, all talking to each other about staffing and all of the different things — just getting excited about the potential to have all these new customers and tourists,” Miller said.

However, Miller says her hopes for added traffic were dashed.

“It’s kind of like we were expecting this huge boom, and instead, it was very flat,” Miller said. “We have a business that is maybe not super sports-oriented, we definitely don’t sell a ton of Chiefs or KC stuff, although we do have a selection of vintage Chiefs things.”

Patrick Froman, co-owner of Fetch, says sales dropped about 50% Saturday likely in part from losing regular customers.

“It’s somewhat defeating, but it also makes you think what else can we do different to support the small businesses,” Froman said.

Over on Southwest Boulevard in the Crossroads, Cafe Gratitude owner Michale George says by Thursday afternoon, his sales were at 40% compared to the same day last year.

“We were pretty much like, 'Well, okay. This is how this one is going to go,'” George said.

Even with Union Station essentially in Cafe Gratitude's backyard, George says he saw nobody coming in the front door.

“KC is a barbecue town, and we are vegan and organic and delicious, but we are not necessarily in the stream of what Kansas City is known for," he said. “It showed that we are not — there are ways that we can be fresher and more relevant to the conversation of Kansas City.”

Both Cafe Gratitude and Fetch say they are proud of the city and are happy for the experience and exposure, even though it was not what they expected.

“There's lots of events that we really benefit from, and this just happens to be one of those that we didn’t,” George said.

Moving onward and upward, George and Froman mentioned local businesses support each other, and they hope more natives and visitors will do the same the next time KC hosts such a large-scale event.

“This is just one weekend, it isn’t like it's going to be the end, but we were just hoping for more, I think," Froman said. "Recovery-wise, we will bounce back. It isn’t the end all be all."

More coverage of the 2023 NFL Draft can be found below.