While Eastlake Little League All-Stars continue their march to a national Little League title, local residents are hoping more people march into their business.
Bernardo Vasquez, president of the 35-member Eastlake Business Association, said as of now, he is unaware if the
Little League World Series-bound Eastlake All-Stars bring about an increase in business to the organization’s members.
“As far as members in our Eastlake Business Association, they have not reported to us that there has been a direct correlation between the team doing well and there being an uptake in the business with the members,” Vasquez said.
Vasquez, a State Farm insurance agent, said the restaurant industry is the one to most likely benefit economically.
“What I can say is I think there have been a few local restaurants that were showing the game that have gotten increased crowds as a direct result of the Little Leaguers playing and doing well,” Vasquez said.
Daniel Hurd, owner of Eastlake Tavern & Bowl, is one of those restaurants that has seen a busier crowd during its lunch hours because of the Eastlake Little Leaguers.
“We have seen a boost in business, especially once the game is on,” Hurd said. “We’ve seen a lot of people coming in.”
The tavern, a fixture in the Eastlake community, was formally asked by the parents of the team to be the official place to watch the Eastlake Little League games during their historical run.
Hurd said before the Little Leaguers became local stars, they would go to his business to eat, drink and bowl.
President and CEO of the South County Economic Development Council Cindy Gompper Graves said as long as the Eastlake team keeps winning, there will be some sort of economic boost to the region.
“What you see is our local businesses being supported by people who want to celebrate the success of the Little League team and they do this by going out to dinner or things like that,” she said.
She also said having Eastlake going far in the tournament will bring teams from other parts of the country to Chula Vista to play a Chula Vista team.
Vasquez said next year, he expects sponsorships for the Eastlake Little League team to increase. He said he anticipates an uptick in the number of businesses backing the Eastlake Little League name.
More than anything, Vasquez said, the Little Leaguers have put the city of Chula Vista on the national scene.
“Our hope is once the national attention starts focusing not just on the western area in Southern California, San Diego, but ultimately the Eastlake area of Chula Vista,” Vasquez said. “People are going to see how wonderful it is out there and we expect over the long run that with exposure we are going to see increased opportunities for the community.”