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Square Capitalizes On Sox

Amid World Series, hometown businesses cash in on Red Sox frenzy

By Shan Wang, Contributing Writer

As the Red Sox played for gold rings at Fenway Park yesterday, Harvard Square’s businesses tried to make some gold of their own.

Bars with plasma televisions and shops serving up Sox paraphernalia drew crowds yesterday, when Boston’s home team played yesterday’s second World Series game against the Colorado Rockies—whose blacks and purples were noticeably absent from the streets.

At Uno Chicago Grill on JFK Street last night, fans lined up at the bar, focused on the widescreens behind the counter.

Travis H. Bleidt, a bartender, came up with the idea of giving away food and prizes in the restaurant’s basement bar to attract more customers. Uno’s plans to continue hosting “Soxtober” as long as the series lasts.

Other businesses have already jumped on the Red Sox bandwagon.

Alpha Omega Jewelers in Harvard Square became official sponsors of the Red Sox last year and this year began selling Sox-themed jewelry. Jordan A. Hislop, a store associate, said Sox merchandise has sold well as fans celebrate recent victories.

Farther down Mass. Ave., Billy Bartley, manager of the iconic Bartley’s Burger Cottage and a Red Sox fan for 47 years, also noted a slight increase in customers, but did not attribute better business to the Sox’s recent victories. Rather, Bartley believed his store attracts a certain kind of customer.

“All of us here are Sox fans. I can’t stand people who eat here and are fans of other teams,” he said. “That’s ridiculous.”

Even during the first Series game, John Harvard’s Brew House was at full capacity, according to bartender Fran Forrestall.

“I can’t even begin to estimate how many people were here,” Forrestall said. “You couldn’t even walk, all the good people in this world were here.”

Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe has already received press for the “Chair Club” that gathers outside the main store window to watch games from the TV behind the glass. Although the public game-viewing is not officially sponsored by the store, employee Matthew B. Becker said allowing the crowd to watch games outside the store has generated excellent publicity.

While many storefronts embraced the Red Sox craze, a few saw little or no difference in business. Flat Patties employee Manuel Hernandez pointed out only businesses that open late or have a TV can reap the benefits of a hungry crowd.

“Since we have no beer and Felipe’s is open later than we are,” Hernandez said. “I don’t really see how [the Red Sox] are helping.”

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