TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — A number of Tuscaloosa downtown store owners are preparing to reopen once the statewide stay at home order is lifted Thursday evening.
But some like Charles Spurlin have concerns about the potential economic impact if the coronavirus sidelines Alabama football this year.
“Football is loved in the south and is loved in the state of Alabama,” Spurlin said. “We hope some way or another we are going to play football this season. We do want a football season but the Shirt Shop is still going to be here for you if we were not going to have a football season.”
Spurlin has been in business 41 years on Greensboro Avenue in Tuscaloosa. He owns the Shirt Shop and sells clothing like suits and ties and shoes and Alabama merchandise. Spurlin depends on game day weekend customer traffic and has some concerns if the coronavirus shuts down the football season.
“It won’t be good because I always tell folks my business has a five-month season. August is back to school and September, October and November is football,” Spurlin said.
There has not been any announcements that the football season has been canceled. Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox says that’s great news because he believes not having home games in Tuscaloosa would be a economic disaster.
“Not to have a football season, it goes beyond a recession,” Mayor Maddox said. “It would be a depression for the city of Tuscaloosa. It would be catastrophic. That’s why it’s important that as a city we act now and we’ve got to make sure small businesses get through the summer.”
As for Spurlin, despite his concerns, he is staying optimistic and wants his local customer base to know he and his staff will be open for business.
“We need to open the doors and we need to see customers and we need to help people so we can pay our bills,” he said. “We do practice social distancing and we are not shaking any hands, we won’t give any hugs but we want to help you. We thing Governor Ivy and Mayor Maddox made good decisions and are trying to keep this virus at bay.”
Spurlin will reopen his store on Friday after being closed for six weeks.