Funky Monkey Snacks signed an agreement with venue operator Centerplate recently to bring its healthy freeze-dried fruit snacks to sports venues across the country. Funky Monkey Snacks will be a part of the snack packs visitors get when they visit such events as NFL Experience, which is being hosted by a Centerplate venue -- the Indianapolis Convention Center. "The Centerplate Snacksmart program will be great exposure for Funky Monkey Snacks and will introduce the product to large audiences at stadiums, venues and arenas across the county," CEO Matt Herzog says. "We were able to debut the program for this year's Super Bowl crowd at the NFL Experience. We couldn't have asked for a better sporting event to be affiliated with than the Super Bowl." Not only is the snack provider looking to build sales and increase brand awareness, but to advocate healthy eating options for consumers. "Because both the Super Bowl and NFL Experience bring so many new faces to Indiana, it's a great chance for all kinds of people, young and old, to taste the crunchy spin we have put on freeze-dried fruit," Herzog says.
Park Whiz is a Web site that helps consumers find and reserve parking spots in safe and reputable locations throughout 100 major cities and more than 600 venues. Founded by Aashish Dalal and Jon Thornton in 2006, the Chicago-based company is working with more than 40 parking lots and facilities around the Super Bowl site. Indianapolis is "a driving city ... Lucas Oil Stadium is situated in a location where there is no accessible public transportation, and so whether it's locals who live in the suburbs or out-of-towners flying in and renting a car, each of those customers will need a parking space upon arrival," Dalal says. "Given there will be 150,000-plus in the city on Super Bowl Sunday, it's in each of those customers' best interest to secure their parking ahead of time. We are the only place customers can lock in a space whether they want to tailgate or park across the street from the stadium." The company focuses on creating partnerships with parking lot operators and asset owners whose inventory can be listed on the site, taking a percentage of the transaction when a customer reserves a spot. The partners focus on lots close to high-traffic areas such as sporting and concert venues and theaters. Parking lots are vetted to make sure they're properly licensed by the city. The proximity of Indianapolis to Chicago makes it easier to know which lots and operators to work with, Dalal says. For the Super Bowl, Park Whiz has actually had to turn away parking lot operators that waited until the last minute to try to list on the site for the weekend. "It's a pretty fascinating process with regard to the Super Bowl," he says. "It's a great opportunity in terms of generating additional revenue and building the company profile."
Wholesale specialty coffee roaster Copper Moon Coffee seems an unlikely company to benefit from the Super Bowl, but President Cary Gutwein assures that he sees plenty of advantages. The company roasts and packages coffee under the Copper Moon Coffee name, selling it in grocery stores and under private labels sold through food service distributors such as restaurants, catering and vending machines, but it also has retail coffee shops at the Indianapolis International Airport. "The obvious benefits of the Super Bowl for Copper Moon Coffee are most directly related to our location at the airport," Gutwein says. "Our Copper Moon Coffee World Cafe shops are a very visible part of the airport when you arrive ... we provide a local connection to the city. An additional benefit is the exposure and increased sales that we expect from our Indianapolis food service customers." The airport locations will operate on a 24-hour schedule this weekend to accommodate increased foot traffic, Gutwein says. And while it might sound grueling, "there is no doubt that any additional effort during the Super Bowl event here in Indianapolis is worth it. The exposure for our company and the city is tremendous," he says. Even though it's still early, Gutwein expects to be able to garner many lessons from the experience and assess "how we could improve for future events and for daily execution of the business in general."
Sports bar and eatery franchise Tilted Kilt is in the heart of the Super Bowl festivities. The Indianapolis franchise has brought in workers from its South Bend, Ind., and Wisconsin locations and has undergone a mini-makeover to accommodate the surging crowds. "Our sales have pretty much doubled so far," says Crystal Rightor, the franchise's director of marketing, speaking Friday. The sports bar pays homage to the old public houses of America, England, Scotland and Ireland, but each location also has nearly 40 televisions, and the franchise boasts that regardless of where patrons sit they can see the game on at least four screens. (If that sounds inauthentic, the explanation is that Tilted Kilts and its costumed waitstaff pay homage to the old public houses of America, England, Scotland and Ireland in much the same way Hooters restaurants and their servers pay homage to owls.) Some of the changes the pub has made include extending its hours to include a breakfast buffet. They also rearranged the furniture to accommodate more people and set up a "VIP" area, she says. Additional preparations include ordering smaller plastic cups for beer that are easier to clean and store and that patrons can use for carry-out. They've also limited their menu to make it easier for the kitchen staff to accommodate the spike in customers and so food wait times are faster, Rightor says. "I feel that after the experience from the Super Bowl, we're going to able to help out other pubs that might potentially go through
Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park just opened the doors of its Fishers, Ind., location in December, and boy did they pick a good time to open. Even being 20 miles from downtown Indianapolis, Sky Zone has seen business multiply from families and fans attending the Super Bowl and its related events. "It is a great spot for families coming to town to see the game and looking for something besides the 21-and-over activities, and it is also a great place for young adults," the company says. Sky Zone says it has 20 franchised locations across the U.S., with a handful more expected to open soon. It considers itself the "creator of the world's first all-trampoline walled playing court" and suitable for any age and size person. "We think it's great to be living in the host city, and any extra exposure is always great for business. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country -- businesses such as ours always see more action due to the arrival of thousands of people," says Jeff Mast, Sky Zone's Indianapolis franchisee. Mast's location has experienced an influx of visitors over the past week and has sold to capacity every weekend leading up to the Super Bowl on its "Jump Passes," which gives customers access to the Open Jump experience and 3-D Dodgeball. Even the SkyRobics class for this morning was sold out ahead of time, and Mast expects business to continue that way for the rest of the weekend and even into next week. But Sky Zone made sure the staff and location were ready for the increase in visitors. Sky Zone has a national contract with PepsiCo ( PEP), which provided banners and an electronic Super Bowl sign. The staff was prepared to work overtime and come in on days off if needed. While the weekend isn't over, Mast says he has already learned a lesson: You can never be too prepared. "We hope to turn on a whole new fan base who have never had the opportunity to visit a Sky Zone before and will go home to search for Sky Zone locations near to them when they leave. Football fans are sports fans, and are looking for facilities to play while in town enjoying their sport's weekend," Mast says. -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com. To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/#!/LKulikowski
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