Tonawanda News — U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand urged the United States Small Business Administration Monday to assist small businesses in the Buffalo area that are being hurt by the NHL lockout.
“The Buffalo Sabres are a vital part of the economic life of downtown Buffalo and the lockout has been absolutely devastating for local businesses,” Gillibrand said. “Local small business owners rely tremendously on the revenues generated from Sabres’ fans to keep their establishments operating. It is imperative for them to have knowledge of the resources available to assist them through this difficult time.”
The SBA provides loans, including small, short-term micro-loans for businesses that can be used to purchase supplies or pay employees.
The association’s Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College also offers technical assistance and long-term guidance to help businesses recover from hardships.
Gillibrand asked the SBA to hold workshops in the area on available programs. The workshops would inform small businesses in the area of potential assistance they could receive.
The lockout has been in effect since Sept. 15, and since then, it has cost the local Buffalo economy nearly $2 million in lost hotel revenues alone, Gillibrand’s office estimated.
The attraction of hockey also increases revenue at restaurants and bars during home and away games.
“The loss of hockey has a real economic impact,” Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen said. “The loss of hotel room nights bought by visiting teams and their fans as well as the loss of restaurant and bar revenue to downtown businesses. In Buffalo, we really feel it as many of our Canadian friends fill our arena and enjoy our downtown restaurants and bars.”