Jets score success for retailers, restaurants

The Jets' comback season came up short of the playoffs, the NHL's return to Winnipeg has filled several local businesses with profits.
Winnipeggers fully embraced their Jets in their inaugural season, filling the MTS Centre, buying their gear and holding special events. (CBC)

The Jets' comback season came up short of the playoffs, the NHL's return to Winnipeg has filled several local businesses with profits.

Vince DeLuca, general manager at DeLuca's Speciality Foods, said his catering business has soared due to special events while his restaurant business has increased 10 to 15 per cent from fans ordering food for delivery.

"It was fantastic [having the team back]. A lot of people were entertaining more at home, you know, especially on game nights. So more entertaining people are purchasing more food," he said.

Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien speaks top reporters on Sunday. (CBC)

At River City Sports, management couldn’t keep enough Jets souvenirs in stock through the season. And more staff was hired to keep pace with the increased business.

"It has been a phenomenal year. We pretty much had to double and almost triple our staff over last year just to keep up with the demand," said manager Zak Rubin.

And it wasn't only the Winnipeg stores benefitting. Rubin said River City Sports locationbs in Regina and Calgary have also been selling a high volume of Jets items.

While businesses are smiling, some of the Jets players had sombre faces on Sunday as they cleaned out their lockers at MTS Centre.

Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien said the team took a lot of big steps in its inaugural season but still has much to learn.

"We just need to be committed for a full year. You know we can't take games off — we take games off and it's what you're doing, you're packing your bags up and going home early," he said.