West End businesses excited for Greenville Drive season to start

Businesses in the West End say they are happy to see the Greenville Drive season get underway.
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 10:56 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - It’s the best two words in baseball, Opening Day.

“It’s really our first opening day since 2019 where we’ll be at full capacity,” said Greenville Drive General Manager Eric Jarinko.

On Friday, the seats at Fluor Field will be filled with baseball fans.

For businesses just down from the ballfield, like Mac’s Speed Shop, it’s also an exciting time.

“Having 3,000 to 4,000 people, 5,000 people, whatever it is across the street from you 80 times a year is a positive,” explained Mac’s Hospitality Group President Shang Skipper.

Skipper says that when the Drive have a home game, sales go up around 20 percent.

The same thing happens across the street at Viva Villa Mexican Grill.

“Since they got more games and concerts and events, it’s been amazing now. The West End, it just went back to life,” said Owner Fernando Del Toro.

The traditional Mexican restaurant opened up its downtown Greenville location during the pandemic, but knows the importance the Drive have in that part of town.

“It’s been amazing and challenging at the same time,” said Del Toro on how busy the restaurant gets on gamedays.

“It’s such a unique partnership you know to have the ballpark in the center of downtown, driving businesses, driving economic development. But also the partnership we have with the city itself,” said Jarinko.

Beyond the business impact of the Drive, for some a full baseball season signals another step towards life as we knew it.

“It’s really nice to get back to normalcy, and the Drive are always part of the normalcy of Greenville,” said Skipper.

Some businesses FOX Carolina spoke to say they are still struggling with staffing and supply chain issues, and ask for customers to be patient with them.

The Greenville Drive start their season against the Hudson Valley Renegades on Friday.

First pitch at Fluor Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.