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Kansas City-area businesses share how the NFL Draft impacted them one year later

 Jayaun Smith, owner of Sauced
Posted at 5:12 PM, Apr 25, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Last year, the 2023 NFL Draft was located at Union Station, which gave some local businesses a front row seat to all the action.

“I will always give credit to the NFL and the NFL business program for helping us to get another level much quicker than what we probably would've gotten,” said Jayaun Smith.

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Jayaun Smith, owner of Sauced, says he got cooking after getting the call from the NFL Business Connect Program last year.

“I remember the day; I actually screamed and ran around my house because it was unreal at that point in time,” Smith said.

Smith says being in the hot spot during the draft helped put his businesses on the map.

“Probably over like a 50 percent in gross profit for us, and that's what's been able to help us hire more people to put people in better positions to do more things that we want to do,” Smith said. "Our orders spiked up to a different level, that natural foot traffic, Fridays is our busiest days now because people want to come down to see what's going on here, so its been a blessing.

As someone born and raised in Kansas City, Smith says being selected for the draft as a personal chef was amazing, but being able to bring his business along for the ride made it things much sweeter.

“I'm a fresh 28 years, I got to see something new come here and be apart of that and be a part of the first draft ever here,” Smith said.

However — over in City Market — in an area that sits on the street car route, Alex Pope, the co-owner of Local Pig and Pigwich, says the NFL draft didn’t flip his businesses like he hoped.

“Our restaurant was busier than normal, and our meat market was much less busy than normal,” Pope said. "It probably was in 5 percent of a normal week in April.”

Preparing early and stocking up on items, Pope is glad he got ahead of the game but has advice for businesses in future draft cities.

“Think about if people are really truly going to leave that area and how they are going to get to you, so don't buy too many perishable products,” Pope said.