State tournament boosts economy in the Twin Cities

By Beau Ebenezer

March 8, 2014 Updated Mar 10, 2014 at 10:46 AM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- The IHSA girls state basketball tournament is bringing many new faces to the Twin Cities, and local businesses are taking advantage.

Redbird Arena hosted the girl's tournament for the second weekend in a row.

Officials said the competition brings in more than 1,000 visitors every year.

Hotels in Bloomington-Normal saw 100 extra rooms booked per night. Local restaurants also added extra staff to handle more customers.

"I was told this was a very good restaurant by a couple of my friends," said Alex Luka. "I thought we would check it out because we have time before the game."

"We have seen a lot of smaller teams come in," said Avanti's Manager, Katie Shumaker. "A lot of families come who are here to support their kids who are playing in the tournament. We have a lot of returning customers from last year. We get to see our regulars who come in and say we came here last year and years prior."

Avanti's in Normal said they typically see 800 more customers per day because of the tournament.