Battery businesses set sales records during World Series bonanza

Nov. 2—CUMBERLAND — After being packed to the gills on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, The Battery Atlanta was in recovery mode Monday morning. Businesses that were flooded with fans attending the World Series happily reported record sales and in some cases, closed altogether to restock inventory.

But on Tuesday, the mixed-use development surrounding Truist Park was again preparing for watch parties ahead of Tuesday night's Game 6 in Houston. Atlanta Braves fans have flocked to bars, restaurants and the plaza and greenspace outside the stadium's Chop House Gate to watch away games throughout the postseason. The Braves announced Monday that, for the first time this year, a watch party on Tuesday would be held inside the stadium, with fans watching from reserved seats or the outfield grass.

'It just blew our minds'

The Battery restricted certain areas to ticket-holders due to the overwhelming crowds that filled the streets. On Monday, street sweepers cleaned up litter while removable bollards came down to reopen areas to cars. As of Tuesday afternoon, modest crowds were beginning to gather to attend watch parties.

After the weekend pandemonium, some businesses opted to take a day off. At The Battery's Antico Pizza Napoletana, a notice taped to the doors Monday said the restaurant was closed to restock, clean and prep for Tuesday. A notice taped to the door of Sports and Social, a sports bar across the plaza from Truist, read, "This weekend depleted our bullpen. We will see you tonight at 4:00 p.m."

Rick Huggins, general manager of The Battery location of bagel and brunch chain Goldbergs Fine Foods, said Monday his restaurant broke sales records three nights in a row over the weekend. With all the tips, servers brought home $500 each night, Huggins said.

"It was just a great thing for our (Goldberg's) team here after a difficult year last year," Huggins said. "Great for everybody who works here at The Battery."

The fall classic was icing on the cake of a baseball season that put the restaurant "back into black, as they say," Huggins said.

Goldberg's was well prepared, he added, but still didn't anticipate the kind of business it would receive.

"We knew it'd be a lot more than usual. But it just blew our minds, really," Huggins said.

Clothing store Baseballism also broke its single-day sales record on Saturday, according to manager Thomas Brown. The store, which usually closes at 11 p.m., stayed open until an hour after the games ended.

"There were so many people on the sidewalk, I physically couldn't just leave the door open. There was that many people walking back and forth — I had to close the door," Brown said.

Even before the weekend, crowds had flocked to The Battery for watch parties.

The store ran out of a few items completely, while others sold out in certain sizes.

"It's a great problem to have. So now, we're just gearing up getting ready for our Black Friday sale," Brown said.

Baseballism's contract with The Battery dictates that the store can't actually sell Braves gear — the store instead sells general baseball-themed apparel. Ahead of World Series games, fans waited hours to get into the official Braves clubhouse stores to buy special World Series gear.

Cold and rainy weather on Friday and Saturday meant some fans went to Baseballism, even if they couldn't get Braves gear there, simply to buy sweatshirts and other cold-weather clothes.

In 2021, the store has already had more than $700,000 in sales, up more than $50,000 from other years. Revenue is up 30% compared to 2019 and up 400% compared to 2020, when the business took a hit from the pandemic.

The World Series, Brown said, more than made up for the loss brought on by Major League Baseball's decision to pull the All-Star Game from Truist this past summer over Georgia's controversial new election law.

"Everyone loves to bring up how upset we are that the All-Star Game was moved out of Atlanta. ... The All-Star Game is only two days worth of sales," Brown said. "World Series, with the watch parties going on, it's a full week's worth of sales. So we're making a lot more money now than we would have ... back in July."

Not every business benefited from World Series crowds. At barber shop Van Michael Men, several clients had to cancel hair appointments because they couldn't navigate the traffic and lack of parking over the weekend, manager Jillian Perry said.

The barber shop warns customers about scheduling appointments on game days, but clients often shrug it off. Some customers were none too pleased about having to reschedule.

"Sometimes during game days, we'll get super busy and we will get a lot of walk-in traffic, people getting their beards trimmed ... sometimes it's the reverse effect where people just can't even get in at all. So then you have absolutely nobody," Perry said.

Still, the atmosphere, energy and camaraderie among fans was great to experience, Perry said, even if it created a few scheduling headaches. And being located at The Battery increases brand awareness.

"One great thing is, no matter what, we get our name out there," Perry said. "That was one of our huge things. We get a lot of people who stop in and talk to us. I have these menus that I hand out to people with our business cards on them and stuff."

New Orleans-themed daiquiri bar Fat Tuesday opened a location at The Battery earlier this year. In addition to the World Series games at Truist, assistant manager Jessica Smith said the watch parties for the Houston games "were amazing as well."

Specializing in frozen, colorful alcoholic drinks, the walk-up bar also sells beer and water.

"We don't normally do a lot of beer, so this weekend was great because we went through a lot of our inventory," Smith said.

A shipment of cups carrying the bar's branding was held up over the weekend by a combination of supply-chain slowdowns and the traffic around The Battery, Smith said. Other than that, the weekend was a big windfall, bringing plenty of tips for bartenders and about $24,000 in drink sales in one night.

"The fans were incredible. We appreciate everybody that came into town, Houston Astros fans and just everybody from all over," Smith said. "They definitely helped our Braves team get a couple of wins under their belt, but the energy was incredible. I wish the weather was a little bit warmer ... but in all honesty, I couldn't have asked for a better weekend."