Super Bowl | Business, Feb. 2012

Indy in the Spotlight

Local businesses put on their game faces for Super Bowl XLVI

Preparation for Super Bowl XLVI went into overdrive after Indy won its bid to host this colossal sporting event. To bring everyone to the big day, it’s taken a long and persistent drive. Now, Indy is in the international spotlight.

With eight NFL franchises within 400 miles of the Circle City, it’s been more than business as usual as residents and business owners meet, greet and entertain people from around the country and world.

Five business leaders share how they are entertaining the nearly 150,000 guests staying Super Bowl weekend and how they –– and Indy –– intend to prosper for years to come.

BusinessScott Blalock
General manager, JW Marriott

Q: What are your expectations for Super Bowl XLVI business?
A: We want to deliver an outstanding event. The JW Marriott is a big part of the entire experience for our city and all the guests here. We are delivering great service, but we also want people to really acknowledge that Indianapolis is more than just a sports town.

We have great museums, restaurants and places to hold conventions. And the people of Indianapolis are as genuine and friendly as anywhere in the entire country.

Q: How will you ensure your clients will get the Super Bowl experience they want?
A: We have been preparing for the Super Bowl for over a year, and we are ready to go. Upon arrival, guests of major downtown Indy hotels will be treated to snickerdoodle cookies and hot chocolate –– just a little taste of Hoosier hospitality.

Guests are enjoying our two fabulous restaurants. Osteria Pronto serves authentic Italian food, and our sports bar, High Velocity, has 55 high-definition televisions to keep sports fans in their element. All food made at High Velocity is made fresh daily –– not the usual fare for sports bars.

Q: How do you see the Super Bowl impacting your business immediately and Indy in the long term?
A: With all 1,005 rooms filled with guests, we are incredibly busy.

The media is based in our meeting space. So interviews and broadcasts are taking place from our hotel. It’s great to host them.

We hope to entice people from out of town and people from Indianapolis who haven’t been inside our hotel to come visit and enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of our restaurants.

This is just Super Bowl weekend. But this is also the future.

What this does for the JW Marriott and the city of Indianapolis is to show the world that we are a friendly, hospitable place to visit. We want more guests to come experience Indy’s culture and see all our great attractions such as museums, sporting events and great restaurants. We have a lot to offer.

The Super Bowl is evidence of that –– and that we are a super city.

Q: What green initiatives are a part of your daily operations?
A: We are very focused on recycling and incentives for our staff to help us reach our goals.

Our Marriott was recently recognized with an Emerging Green Award presented by the Professional Convention Management Association.

It’s not always easy to be green, but we have ongoing training to determine how we can have an environmentally friendly hotel. We provide our associates with free beverages when they use their green mugs, practice water conservation by using water dispensers instead of bottled water and offer an optional linen reuse program for multiple-night guests.

We also recycle paper, cardboard, newspaper, ink cartridges, glass, plastic and metal. Food waste is separated and put into specific dumpsters and is mixed with other compost material to become fertile soil.

JW Marriott Indianapolis, 10 S. West St., (317) 860-5800,

BusinessGary Padjen
Owner of The Crane Bay, vice president of the local NFL Alumni chapter and former Indianapolis Colts linebacker

Q: What are your expectations for Super Bowl XLVI business?
A: The Crane Bay’s great location just blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium provides a unique venue that spotlights the best of our city like no other venue. Our acres of parking are a big asset downtown too. This is a serious investment –– we want to be the event center for a long time.

We have 18,000 square feet to accommodate our clients’ needs and desires and to make everything happen for their events.

To ensure our guests are taken care of, we’re employing four full-time employees and more than 50 part-time and contract employees.

We want to help make sure that the Super Bowl will want to come back to Indy.

Q: How will you ensure your clients will get the Super Bowl experience they want?
A: We are doing everything we can to give our guests the highest quality entertainment. Tickets went fast for the Barcardi Bash, our tailgate party the Saturday before the game, when Rolling Stone is bringing in national entertainers.

Our guests will have a quality, star-studded experience that starts the moment they step into The Crane Bay.

The entrance has a heavy industrial look that is in keeping with the original manufacturing use of the building: diamond plating, stone carpet and a big crane suspended from tracks in the ceiling.

We have full beverage and food capabilities. Our partnership with the Savor Society means our guests will enjoy the best high-end food experience.

Q: How do you see the Super Bowl impacting your business immediately and Indy in the long term?
A: The Super Bowl will bring in a lot of revenue, and it will put us on the map.

We have plans for outside dining spots including a patio and rooftop seating. We are doing a good job, so we deserve to get the game back here in five or six years.

The Crane Bay will also be partnering with not-for-profits in the coming year.

Q: What green initiatives are a part of your daily operations?
A: The Crane Bay has a full-blown campaign to recycle cans and bottles. In the back of our facility, we are starting a compost bin for unused food. Also, a rainwater-saving receptacle will supply water for the plants in the landscaping around our building.

The Crane Bay, 551 Merrill St., (317) 804-1683,

BusinessEd Rudisell
Co-owner, The Black Market

Q: What are your expectations for Super Bowl XLVI business?
A: We do expect business to peak during the month surrounding the Super Bowl. We hope that visitors to Indy find their way to Massachusetts Avenue to enjoy the Black Market’s cozy and welcoming atmosphere as a part of the dining experience we provide.

Some restaurants have committed to buy-outs for hours or days for larger clients that will occupy their establishment –– limiting the public’s access –– so we welcome guests to explore areas outside the immediate center of downtown to places like Mass Avenue and Fountain Square.

Q: How will you ensure your clients will get the Super Bowl experience they want?
A: At the Black Market, we serve food that is simple, yet well prepared –– comfort food with a modern twist.

Chef and co-owner Micah Frank changes our menu often and incorporates what is available locally when he plans dishes so guests enjoy only the freshest food.

Q: How do you see the Super Bowl impacting your business immediately and Indy in the long term?
A: The Mass Ave Association put together promotions to welcome people visiting from out of town for the Super Bowl. The hope is to draw people in for a uniquely Indy dining experience.

With so many more diners coming to enjoy food experiences during Super Bowl festivities, all restaurants worked hard to garner the resources needed to keep guests pleased with great food and service.

Q: What green initiatives are a part of your daily operations?
A: We serve a lot of wine and beer, so we recycle a lot of glass and cans. Also, when deliveries come in, we recycle those cardboard boxes.

Chef Micah is pretty inventive and has even recycled hinges off boxes to be used as hooks in our kitchen.

The Black Market, 922 Massachusetts Ave., (317) 822-6757,

BusinessJim Dora Jr.
President and CEO, General Hotels

Q: What are your expectations for Super Bowl XLVI business?
A: February will be off the charts in the history of our company. But when you look at this in context within the year, it’s a great solid piece of business to have –– but it won’t make our year.

Teams that ‘travel well’ (those that have a strong fan base that follows them) are good for business. As things filled up around Indy, our hotels in Terre Haute, Lafayette and Kokomo began accommodating guests who may not even have tickets but just want to be in Indy to enjoy the Super Bowl experience.

People are here having a lot of fun. And Indy is easy to get into and to travel through –– downtown is so walkable –– so it’s easy to get in on all the action.

Q: How will you ensure your guests will get the Super Bowl experience they want?
A: Our Super Bowl hotel guests are an interesting mix that the NFL brought to us: We have corporate guests, sports affiliates and not-for-profit groups staying with us.

For example, our Crowne Plaza at Union Station is hosting CBS Sports, NFL Films and the Westwood One radio network. The majority of these folks are going to be working.

We are addressing what these guests need to allow them to keep very specific schedules. We are adjusting as clients check in –– that’s what we do every day. You read customers as they walk up to the desk. Business people want to get in and out, whereas more leisurely guests want to know where to eat, socialize, etc.

To answer guests’ questions, the NFL Host Committee has people placed around downtown to get them to where they want to go and tell them how to get there.

We have more staff on hand at night to handle deliveries so we have everything our guests need. And we’ve brought in a few executive chefs to help our regular culinary staff downtown.

As a convenience for our associates, we are shuttling them into our downtown hotels since parking will be at a premium. Our employees will be getting full hours, and we will be ramping up for the rest of 2012. That’s exciting.

Q: How do you see the Super Bowl impacting your business immediately and Indy in the long term?
A: The Grand Hall and Conference Center at Union Station is hosting the NFL’s credentialed guests –– one of NFL’s main venues. We are providing food and beverages for these guests. It’s a coup for our Crowne Plaza to have that great business.

After the Super Bowl, downtown is incredibly busy. The Fire Department Instructors Conference comes in, and then we transition to the NFL Combine at the end of the month.

Indy does so many large events like the Big Ten tournaments, Final Fours and now the Super Bowl, and we do it incredibly well. We’re organized, and we have great volunteers that help out.

Our law enforcement moves large amounts of traffic in and out of the city. We can empty almost 70,000 people out of Lucas Oil Stadium and have them out of downtown in under an hour. We get 300,000 people out of the Speedway in just a couple of hours –– that’s pretty amazing.

We are a progressive city with lots of entertainment. We know how to treat our guests to great hospitality. We are becoming known as a city that is the place to go.

Q: What green initiatives are a part of your daily operations?
A: We look at what makes sense and how we can save money. We have programs for our guests to recycle cans, water bottles and newspapers.

Keeping lighting costs down has been made more possible with compact fluorescent bulbs. Our goal is to have the right amount of light output and quality that our guests need and want.

Changing our laundry operation allows us to provide clean, sanitized linens while using less hot water. Throughout the hotel industry, if guests don’t need or desire fresh towels or linens every day, it means fewer things need to be laundered, and that lowers the energy costs.

We look for ways to serve our customers’ needs and desires while using less energy more efficiently in our day-to-day operations.

The Crowne Plaza at Union Station, Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Airport, Homewood Suites at Keystone at the Crossing, Holiday Inn-Express at Thompson and US 31, as well as hotels in Terre Haute, Lafayette and Kokomo, (317) 243-1000,

As Big As It Gets
Business“Because of the Omni Severin’s location, our guests are enjoying the ease of getting to the game, partaking in the fun at Super Bowl Village, quick access to Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Indy’s convention center, all from the comfort of our newly renovated guestrooms.

“We are enjoying the chance to help showcase Indy as a whole during the Super Bowl. This didn’t all happen overnight. It’s made possible because of decisions made five, 10 or 20 years ago.

“A Super Bowl doesn’t happen unless you have the infrastructure to support it. Our expanded convention center, the 1,005-room JW Marriott and the new airport were all key considerations that helped us win the bid for the Super Bowl.

“As a result, we plan to see incremental increases in conventions, meetings and events here in Indy.

“Also, think of the tax revenues that are being generated that benefit us locally and at the state level –– it’s an impact we may not necessarily be aware of.

“The benefit of the Super Bowl to our community is huge. This is as big as it gets.” –– Kevin Latone, general manager of the Omni Severin Indianapolis, 40 W. Jackson Place, (317) 634-6664,

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