March Madness brings business to area shops & restaurants

By WEEK Reporter

March 14, 2014 Updated Mar 14, 2014 at 11:29 PM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill. -- Local businesses say the March Madness is spreading to their shops in a good way.

At East Peoria's Levee District, Potbelly's manager, David Ackerman, says sales this week better than most. For the lunch hour more than a dozen customers were enjoying their afternoon meal in the sunshine. The manager expects that the weekend will be even better and so the staff is stocking up.

"We're stocking up more than normal for the weekend, more people working and more food. We're prepared and ready to go," said Ackerman.

"Both for when things are held at the Civic Center or over in East Peoria, both benefit from each other," said Peoria Area convention & Visitors Bureau representative, Don Welch.

East Peoria and Peoria city officials agree both sides of the river benefit equally. March Madness alone brings $1.7 million to the Peoria Area.

Managers say the weather, the weekend and the sports are all contributing to the spike in business.