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Columbia restaurants face St. Patrick's and March Madness weekend crowds

Businesses in Columbia are getting a double boost this weekend with some expecting to see up to 5 times their sales.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Businesses are working hard this weekend to tackle both the St. Patrick's festival crowds and March Madness fans.

Maz Cotran, the general manager at Jack Brown's Beer & Burger Joint, said his team went through months-long prep gearing up for the biggest weekend of the year. The business sits on Harden Street and in the middle of Saint Patrick's festivities.

"Definitely anticipating a 30-50% increase. Last year we were only open a month and we had already seen a decent percentage increase in sales," Cotran said. "Now we have a year under our belt"

According to the Five Points Association, upwards of 30,000 to 40,000 people are taking part in the event Saturday, which happens at the same time college basketball games are tipping off across the country.

Thomas Buges is the general manager at the Cotton Gin and said that, for them, this weekend is about capitalizing on a different business strategy

"We have T.V.s, we're going to have the games on," he said. "We're normally more of a night club, dance atmosphere, so hopefully we do get some game time business and people are watching the games."

Micheal Duagianer is the owner of Boku in The Vista and Publico in Five Points and Bull Street. He said that to stay on top of the rush, it takes a full staff and even a built-in hour-long break in the middle of the day.

"We shut it down and say, 'O.K., everybody, we're going to regroup, clean up.' And then we turn it over for dinner service. Even though the menu is available all day, that's when everybody wants to eat."

Cotran said there's also a full staff at Jack Browns, and, even with staff shortages, a big game weekend and a festival are things his team is trained to handle.

"We've done big game days, the Georgia-Tennessee games. This is nothing new, we've had college football on while also having a full-capacity bar, slinging beer." He said. "I'm very confident that we're going to sell a lot of green beer while watching the Lady Gamecocks and some crazy March Madness going on."


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