Business, Central New York, Community, Consumer

Oncenter provides a boost to Syracuse businesses

By Nick Fathergill SYRACUSE (NCC News) – The Oncenter, located in downtown Syracuse, helps increase traffic for local businesses dependent on nightlife in the city.

The center, which consists of the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center, War Memorial Arena, and John H. Mulroy Civic Center Theaters, holds a variety of events every year.  On October 15th, the Syracuse Crunch, American Hockey League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, begin their season in the War Memorial.  Another upcoming event expected to attract a large crowd to the downtown area is a comedy event by Amy Schumer on October 1st.

Matt Beach, manager of the Ale ‘n’ Angus Pub on Harrison Street, said he relies on the business created by events at the Oncenter.  During the 12 years he has spent at the restaurant, Beach has consistently noticed a wave of customers before and after major happenings – conventions, games, shows, and the like.  The pub’s location near the venue is a huge benefit for sales.

“When there’s an event going on, we have a market which is just across the street,” Beach said,  “They have to go somewhere, so why not go to Ale ‘n’ Angus?”

Many patrons of the Oncenter share a similar mindset. Wendy Vanderwater goes to a few Syracuse Silver Knights games at the War Memorial every year, and always keeps the same post-game plan.

“We go out to eat every single time we go, and we usually go to one of the local places like Ale ‘n’ Angus or we’ll go down to the armory,” said Vanderwater.

To be sure, Ale ‘n’ Angus isn’t the only nearby restaurant that flourishes due to the Oncenter’s influence.  Indian Tandoor and Panini’s are on the same block as the pub, and Vanderwater recalled Panini’s staying open late for a Crunch game to rein in extra customers.  The owner of Panini’s couldn’t be reached for comment.

To prepare for a big event, Ale ‘n’ Angus stays open late and takes reservations – which usually fill up days in advance.  However, even with the extra work, Beach believes it’s crucial to the pub’s standing in the community.

“Without [the Oncenter], I don’t think we would be where we are, to be honest with you,” he said.