Fairfield sits about 360 miles from Pittsburgh, the closest Super Bowl competitor's home city. But the Big Game's reach stretches all over the country, and Fairfield is no exception. To get ready for the weekend rush of party planners and barflies, Zija Xhellina at Vinny's Grill and Grotto has stockpiled 5,000 chicken wings.
"We'll see how much we use," says Zija, manager of the Post Road restaurant. "But we have another location in Stamford. We need to, we can bring more in."
Zija says the restaurant also stocked up on hundreds of baby back ribs, another Super Bowl favorite. But he's got even more hamburgers and hot dogs, which he'll give out free to bar customers before 7 p.m.
But pre-Super Bowl goes beyond food. Dan Goodman of Westfair TV has been getting many requests for HDTVs and new 3D televisions. Though Westfair mostly does custom full-entertainment systems, Dan says his customers put a stricter deadline for installations at this time of the year.
"Everybody wants to go bigger and better right now, for the Super Bowl," Dan says.
Big spending in the run-up to the Super Bowl is nothing new, nor is it unique to Fairfield. Vinny's wings are nothing compared with the National Chicken Council's estimate of the 1.25 billion wings fans will eat across the country Sunday. And the National Retail Federation expects total spending on Super Bowl party planning and merchandise will top $10.5 billion.
Glenn Levinson at Westfair said his TV sales were up a bit from last year, but the rush was not as big as it had been in years past. Dan said he wasn't sure if this was because more customers turned to big-box and online retailers or if it was a continued aftereffect of the recession.
"Five, 10 years ago, it used to be crazy this time of year," Glenn says.
For Vinny's, this is the first Super Bowl since opening on the Post Road last spring. So Zija can't compare his expectations to last year. But based on the crowds gathered there for the regular football season, he's looking forward to a good day. He added, "Sundays are always the best days."
What are your plans for the Super Bowl? Share your ideas in the comments below.
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