Charlotte small businesses go big for Super Bowl Sunday

By Caroline McMillan Portillo
Original Charlotte Observer Article: Click Here
Donna Battaglia spins a barrel of entries for the 55-inch LED television to be given away at Taste of Buffalo in Huntersville. In the weeks leading up this year’s game, anyone who spent $25 or more got an entry in the drawing. And by giving the TV away a week before the main event, Donna and Bradley Battaglia ensured that their restaurant would be crowded for the much-less-hyped Pro Bowl (you have to be present to claim the prize), while also giving the lucky winner time to set it up for a home-viewing party for the big game.

Donna Battaglia spins a barrel of entries for the 55-inch LED television to be given away at Taste of Buffalo in Huntersville. In the weeks leading up this year’s game, anyone who spent $25 or more got an entry in the drawing. And by giving the TV away a week before the main event, Donna and Bradley Battaglia ensured that their restaurant would be crowded for the much-less-hyped Pro Bowl (you have to be present to claim the prize), while also giving the lucky winner time to set it up for a home-viewing party for the big game.

The spectacle and tradition of the NFL Super Bowl – from the parties to the commercials, half-time shows to game-winning drives – is practically its own industry.

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, an estimated 179 million people tuned into last year’s matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens. The average game-watcher spent an estimated $68.54 on new televisions for viewing parties, snacks, decor and athletic apparel, bringing total spending to nearly $12.3 billion, the organization estimated.

So when there’s that much money for the taking, it’s no wonder Charlotte-area small businesses want to carve out their own piece of Super Bowl XLVIII’s Denver-Broncos-versus-Seattle Seahawks pie.

Which is why this weekend poses a perfect opportunity for them to raise their local profile through a few winning strategies of their own.

Western New York natives Donna and Bradley Battaglia opened the Taste of Buffalo Pizzeria in Huntersville 10 years ago to be a haven for people who prefer thicker crust, chicken-finger subs, fish fries and, of course, buffalo wings.

They’ve built a devoted following in the past decade, Donna Battaglia said, and about 80 percent of their customers are also from New York. So last year they decided to make big events such as the Super Bowl a way to thank customers for their support by doing a drawing for a big LED flat-screen television on Pro Bowl Sunday.

“We appreciate everything they do for us,” Donna Battaglia said. And last year’s winner – a woman who said she’d “never won anything in her life” – was incredibly thankful.

In the weeks leading up this year’s game, anyone who spent $25 or more got an entry in the drawing. And by giving the TV away a week before the main event, the Battaglias ensured that their restaurant would be crowded for the much-less-hyped Pro Bowl (you have to be present to claim the prize), while also giving the lucky winner time to set it up for a home-viewing party for the big game.

A week before this year’s drawing for a 55-inch LED flat-screen television, Donna Battaglia said they already had more than 500 entries.

The Battaglias also acknowledge that many of their customers won’t be dining in for the Super Bowl, she said.

That’s why they’re offering delivery and takeout specials, such as a combo pack of 24 pieces of pizza and 50 wings for $56.99.

Last year, they sold 10,000 buffalo wings, Donna Battaglia said. This year, they’re hoping for 15,000.