Downtown Columbia Stores Experience Their First Home SEC Game

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COLUMBIA - Businesses experienced their first SEC home game last weekend against Georgia. They are now looking ahead as to what to expect with just a few days left until Arizona State comes to town.

The Georgia game brought in more than 70,000 fans to Faurot Field. The stadium was packed and so was downtown.

Jock's Nitch Store's employee Derek Garrett said, "It was fantastic. It was our biggest weekend sale since we have been open in October 2011." Mizzou fans weren't the only ones buying some new gear. Garrett said, "We saw a lot of Georgia fans, too, which is good. They were coming in here and buying a lot. All the stuff you hear about SEC teams coming up here and spending money is pretty much true because they do."

Many downtown stores were fully stocked with clothes and staff--not enough for some stores. The Tiger Spirit store had a couple shelves completely cleared out. Owner of Elly's Couture Elly Bethune said, "We need our merchandise to keep coming in because we are selling out so quickly. We need to reorder Mizzou hair ties and headbands."

Another big hit last weekend was more formal clothing. Many SEC schools, such as Alabama and Auburn, dress up more than schools in the Big 12. Since this is Mizzou's first year in the SEC, some people followed the SEC dress code and wore ties, blazers, and dresses. Bethune said, "We had a lot of people coming in wanting to dress up more for the game. Some girls even came to buy heels."

Downtown Columbia stores saw an increase in shoppers starting last Thursday. But Garrett said, "Thursday was really crowded, but I saw Georgia fans here on Tuesday. It was pretty crazy to see how people were coming in days prior to the game."

Despite Mizzou's loss last weekend, fans showed off their tiger spirit with new merchandise and store owners are hoping for the same purchasing outcome this weekend, but this time also with a Mizzou victory.