These Windsor businesses say they’re getting a boost from the Detroit Lions’ success

These Windsor businesses say they’re getting a boost from the Detroit Lions’ success

Owners and managers of businesses that serve football fans in the Windsor area say they’re benefiting from the unexpected success of the Detroit Lions.

The team won its first playoff game in 32 years on Sunday night with a 24-23 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. 

“Every Sunday when the Lions play, it’s always busy here, but over the last month — we’ve been full every Lions’ game,” said James Bradie, the general manager of John Max Sports and Wings on Dougall Avenue. 

“It’s a lot of fun actually being in here because there’s been a lot of wins going on. The excitement’s building.”

The Lions’ unexpected performance has had a “massive” impact on business, Bradie said.

A man standing in front of a lot of baseball hats featuring different sports teams.
Bob Reaume of Bob Reaume Sports, shown in a 2018 file photo, says he’s out of stock of Lions jerseys as the team advances in the post-season, and so are his suppliers. (CBC)

“I can tell you, after [Sunday’s] game, we had four people book for Super Bowl. So there’s optimism about the Super Bowl.”

The kitchen manager and chef at Sidelines Sports Bar and Grill said his establishment is also getting Super Bowl reservations already. 

“It’s certainly crazy,” said Hayden Sleeth.

“Usually, January, February are slow months for all restaurants … I know the last four years have been hard for everybody. … so to see us pick up …  I’m happy.”

Lions will play again in Detroit this Sunday.

Bob Reaume, the owner of Bob Reaume Sports, said sales of Lions merchandise have been about four times higher this year than during a typical year.

Hoodies, t-shirts, hats and toques in demand

That helped drive some good December sales figures and good numbers for the first two weeks of January, he said. 

“Today, so far, we’ve already had about five or six people in looking for Lion stuff for this weekend,” he said, speaking at around 1 p.m.

“Usually by about November, the Lions are out of the playoffs, and people stop caring.”

People want jerseys, he said, but his suppliers are already sold out. So fans have been buying up hoodies, t-shirts, long-sleeve t-shirts, some golf shirts, hats and toques.

Head shot of James.
James Bradie is the general manager of John Max on Dougall Avenue. He said the sports bar has been packed on Sunday nights for the Detroit Lions’ games, and the atmosphere is exciting. (Heather Kitching/CBC)

Even then, he said, one supplier had to produce an order of hoodies specially for him.

“If [the Lions] were to win, you know, even two more games … we may be out of product by then, but there’s nothing else to get,” Reaume said.

Fans, he said, are pumped.

“If you’re a long-time Lions fan, you’re a long-time suffering Lions fan,” he said. 

“So they’re thoroughly enjoying this because they’ve never been able to enjoy it in the last 30 years. It’s been that long since they won a playoff game.”