HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) – One year from Wednesday, the World Games will descend upon us bringing people worldwide right here to the Magic City. With all that comes a lot of planning as businesses prepare for people from other countries to patronize them.

Many are starting to figure out those plans right now, and most are looking to hire a lot more staff to allow for the best customer service.

The Hoover Met is one of 14 venues that will host events for the 2022 World Games, and businesses nearby are getting ready.

“I just think it’s the exact same thing we do, but bigger,” The Whole Scoop ice cream shop owner David Cohen said.

Cohen compares the World Games to Hoover’s Restaurant Week, which kicks off later this month.

“It’s not just about just going somewhere for a meal,” Cohen said. “It’s about how you get welcomed and invited into their house.”

Cohen knows all his customers, their faces posted all over the shop, signatures left behind. He can tell you a story about every face on the wall.

“I’m the richest man in Hoover because I have all these kids who come in here and families and we get to see them grow up,” Cohen said.

A welcome he plans to give to the world. He is already starting to hire staff and plans to get even more by next spring.

“We’re hiring a little now to get us ready because it’s only a year away and, in a year, they’ll be seasoned pros they’ll be training all the newbies,” Cohen said.

Nearby at Big Whiskey’s, owner Amaan Porbandarwala said more staff will help them provide the best customer service.

“We’re ready, we’re excited to cater them,” Porbandarwala said. “We’re seasoned for it.”  

Porbandarwala said the pandemic has prepared them for anything to come their way. More staff will help them provide better one-on-one customer service.

“It alleviates all of the rush we get in here, so people don’t have to wait for so long,” Porbandarwala said. “They can get food faster, get in and get out.”

Nearby restaurant development will help their busines, too, because Porbandarwala said there’s plenty of business to go around now.

“We’ve never had anything like this,” he said. “The economic impact it’s going to bring to Birmingham and the fact that people get to see Birmingham, Hoover, it’ll be kinda cool because a lot of people who live outside Birmingham and Alabama have a very different view of it so when they come here, see and experience it I think they will really like what the city has to offer.”

One year away isn’t that long from now – but both businesses say they will be ready.

“I can’t even comprehend the national flavor that comes with the World Games,” Cohen said. “That’s going to be fun. We probably will do a little research and try to figure out some of the favorite flavors of certain cultures because there are certain cultural flavors.”

The Hoover Chamber of Commerce who said it is helping to recruit volunteers and raise awareness and will continue to update us as that July date gets closer. Excitement is starting to build in Hoover and our entire region as it prepares for this historic moment.