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Westgate restaurants hoping to cash in on Arizona Cardinals training camp

The interior of the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Glendale, Ariz., near University of Phoenix Stadium is shown. (KTAR photo/Bob McClay)

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Monday marks the third day of the Arizona Cardinals' preseason training camp in Glendale, Ariz.

The practices are open to the public, and businesses near University of Phoenix Stadium are expecting to cash in.

It's the second year that the Cardinals camp has been held in Glendale, but it's the first for the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in the city's Westgate Entertainment District.

"Last year we were not open. We opened just at the tail-end of (training camp)," said the restaurant's general manager, Tony Sollars. "We're actually really excited to get our first year with the training camp here."

Sollars said the restaurant was open for business during the regular season, and that Cardinals home games were good for business.

"It increases business by about 20 to 30 percent [compared to non-game days]," said Sollars.

Westgate Development Director Jeff Teetsel said that while camp is going on, nearby restaurants see a boost in business for both lunch and dinner.

"With all of their practices being concentrated between 2 and 4:30 p.m., we certainly see fans arrive before they go to the stadium and then come to Westgate after they've attended," Teetsell said.

And it may not be only fans who patron the Westgate restaurants.

"With the players staying at the Renaissance hotel next door, every now and again some of them may be walking around our property," said Teetsel. "You never know when you might bump into them. When you're in the line at Chipotle getting a burrito, you might be doing that next to one of the Cardinals players. It's just kind of fun."

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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