Bridgeport restaurants, bars optimistic on Chicago White Sox home opener

White Sox taking on Kansas City royals Thursday
CHICAGO (WLS) -- White Sox fans are beyond excited for Thursday's home opener, but business owners near the stadium are also pumped.

Small businesses in Bridgeport have been getting ready for the big day, saying they are more than ready for this home opener.

They said, even in spite of possible rain, they believe people will be prepared to show their support for the Sox and their local shops and restaurants.

"Personally, I think it's going to be a great success," said Josh Ganal, owner of Grandstand.

After a full year of worry and uncertainty, the owners of Grandstand Bridgeport said they are extremely optimistic about Thursday's home opener and the business it could bring.

"I think there's going to be a lot of people who are going to want to just be around the atmosphere, and they're going to want to be close to it, hear the sounds of what's coming out of that stadium and be around in this neighborhood," Ganal said.

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The family-owned business has been a staple in the neighborhood for decades.

"My parents started this business when I was 3-years-old, so I've known customers when I was in diapers till now. I'm 37. They've become my family," owner Stephanie Ganal said.

Meanwhile, at Stix n Brix Wood Fired Pizza, the owner, Mario Scalise, said he's hopeful the spring season will give his small Bridgeport business the boost it needs.

"Especially for us. We're one of the younger businesses in the neighborhood. A lot of the businesses have been around for 10-15 years, so, for us, any new people coming in the neighborhood is good for us," Scalise said.

He's relying on the foot traffic and loyal White Sox fans like Norma Palomino.

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"I took the train yesterday just so I can be here for the week. I'm calling off work. I'm missing class. I am just so excited," Palomino said. "I know it's going to help out the community so much. We've already been talking about if we're going to eat. As long as we can support a community business, whatever it takes!"

And it's that support that gives businesses like Grandstand hope for a better year.

"I am beyond excited because we missed all of our customers; we missed everybody that we've known and loved for over the years. To see them come back and see this team, it's an incredible feeling," Josh Ganal said.

The White Sox take on the Kansas City Royals at 3:10 p.m.
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