Local businesses cheer Blue Jays’ return as a game-changer

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This historic return is something they didn’t think would happen this summer

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It’s the Jays “home run” that businesses will cheer for the loudest.

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An 11-game stretch of home games at the Rogers Centre is what businesses — especially those close to the stadium — have been waiting for.

Workers at St. Louis Bar and Grill right across the street consider the July 30 return a game-changer.

“It’s nice to see these guys come back and be joyful and have smiling faces,” said Griffin Rowe, a staffer at the restaurant for four years.

“I didn’t think we would see the Jays this year at all — not a chance. And if they did come back, I didn’t think there wouldn’t be any audience. So we are happy to have some sort of glimpse of that.”

In addition to a boon for business, he expects the Jays’ return will provide a collective emotional boost for the city.

“I’m happy they brought it back, but we didn’t have that much time to prep for it and the new staff that hasn’t been here that long hasn’t seen it,” Rowe said.

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Server Anita Owusu is new to Bremner Blvd. location of St. Louis and says she weathered pandemic lockdown with a lot of patience.

“We’ve been cooped up for how long?” she asked. “I thought summer was cancelled basically.”

She’s eager to see a summer jolt from the Jays home-stand.

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“I don’t know what night shifts are like when the jays play.  But I think I will be OK,” she said. “For business, it is a great thing. For the fans alone, it’s a great thing, and we get to experience it.”

For hospitality workers like Owusu and Rowe, the last 16 months have been financially difficult.
Rowe said he even considered a career change.

“It was sort of tough to know whether it was time to switch careers.” He said. “I took on construction part-time, so now I am doing both. You gotta do what you gotta do to make ends meet.”

The crack of the bats across the street will help him do that.

“It’s going to be a lot of familiar faces, a lot of happy families, and a lot of groups of parties.  It’s going to be fun.  It’s going to be a blast,” he said. “It is nice to see people smile. A lot of regulars are coming back, and it warms your heart.”

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