Prior to 2020, Maryville experienced three weekends that served as an economic boost to the community. Those are, namely, Family Weekend, Homecoming Weekend and the weekends that Northwest men’s basketball has been good enough for the city to be the host site for the Division II Central Region Tournament for all three of those years.
The Bearcats were crowned the No. 1 seed in the Central Region again in 2020, which primed Maryville to again be the host site. With the cancellation of the tournament March 14-17 at Bearcat Arena in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19, five hotels in the city lost out on roughly $39,000 of revenue.
The five hotels are Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Cobblestone Inn and Suites, Bearcat Inn and Suites, America’s Best Value Inn and Suites and Country Heart Inn.
The figures for the compilation of the five hotels were comprised of how many rooms were booked from March 13-15, how many of those were canceled in correlation with the tournament and the average price per room in each establishment, respectively.
“The cancellation of the Central Region Tournament certainly has a negative impact on the local economy; however the city of Maryville stands fully behind the actions of the NCAA and Northwest that are designed to keep their students and employees safe,” Maryville’s City Manager Greg McDanel said in an email. “COVID-19 requires an unprecedented national and local response, regardless of the economic impact. We will do our best to continue supporting the local economy during this time while adhering to recommendations from the CDC.”
For businesses in Maryville, the caution jeopardizes hours of operation, profit margins and, in extreme instances, the ability to keep the doors open. The latest adaptation for the city came in the form of Hy-Vee, which announced March 17 that store hours are changing from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., effective March 19.
The biggest missed revenue opportunity came via Holiday Inn Express and Suites, which was left without approximately $11,960. The hotel has 59 rooms in the building, all of which were booked for the weekend, an employee said. Out of the 177 rooms that were supposed to be paid for over the three days, 115 of those ended up being canceled at a rate of $104 per night.
The same employee noted that the cancellations have been rather rough for the business, leaving employees with shortened hours.
It’s something that the employee said shouldn’t affect the company too much in the oncoming weeks. They noted that the hotel has been nearly full for the past several months due to the wind farm construction. For other businesses that aren’t being utilized by that industry, it could mean otherwise.
“All these companies in town that rely, I say rely, for eight months out of the year when students are here, that’s a livelihood,” Northwest Athletic Director Andy Peterson said. “We’ve heard for a long time that some of those companies really struggle in the summer months. They struggle with student help; they struggle with business because the population isn’t here.”
Using that same formula, Bearcat Inn and Suites missed out on roughly $6,200, America’s Best Value Inn and Suites lost an estimated $10,036, Cobblestone Inn and Suites missed out on approximately $9,600 and Country Hearth Inn lost near $1,214.
The pandemic leaves question marks among businesses in the city regarding what’s to come. Cities around the country have reduced social gatherings of variable amounts, closed restaurants and some have gone on 24-hour lockdown.
What’s next for businesses in Maryville isn’t something that can be speculated. The economic repercussions, Peterson said, aren’t things that can be taken lightly.
“Just a lot of disappointment and sadness there,” Peterson said. “At the same time, you understand the reason why. It’s not something — it’s not serious; it’s very serious. It’s not something that’s blown out of proportion; the numbers speak for themselves. It’s a pandemic and something that is moving — an abundance of caution is what it is.”
“I think it’s to be determined on what happens with the city of Maryville,” Peterson said. “I do think we’re doing what’s best for the city of Maryville.”