Jupiter businesses hope for big boost as spring training begins

Despite pandemic, baseball's return marks promise of patronage at businesses near Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium
Posted at 12:10 AM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 00:10:30-05

JUPITER, Fla. — For many restaurants and bars in Jupiter, the spring training season means "platter up." It is boosting the hopes of restaurants that are still feeling the impact of the pandemic.

Even though there's limited attendance at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, a business owner said she is still expect a big turn out during the season.

"We're so excited. We even bought a Jumby Bay Island Grill food truck this year," said Andrea Gutter, general manager at Jumby Bay. "As far as having 6,000 people in the stadium, as opposed to having 1,500, which they are telling us what the numbers are this year, I didn't see a difference in business we had today."

Florida's spring training goes well beyond balls and strikes. There's also the dollars and cents. Studies put economic impact statewide, in a typical year, at more than half-a-billion dollars. With fewer fans and fewer games for the five teams in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, it's not clear yet what impact that will have on the overall revenue.

"The first week is always just a little different, because it's the slowest of all the weeks -- the four or five that we have -- but, honestly, it was exactly like last year," said Gutter.

Pandemic protocols were in full effect at the stadium.

"It's great! In fact, I have season tickets up in St. Louis, too," said Tracy Amos, who came to watch Sunday's game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals.

"I'm excited about the new players," said Dayna O'Brien, who is a Cardinals fan from Melbourne. "I am excited about seeing my favorite player, Harrison Bader. He's really cute. I am excited to bring my boyfriend here to see a Cardinals baseball game because he's never been to one before."

Many fans said they hope to attend more games in the coming weeks.