News Article | 5/3/2007

Getting a 3-point boost from the Mavs

Tonight, staff and patrons at Luna de Noche will divide their attention between jalapeño meatloaf and the (hopefully) hot hands of Dirk Nowitzki, as the forward tries to propel the Dallas Mavericks toward a second-round NBA playoff berth.

For the patrons, it’ll be about home-town pride and bragging rights. But for some of the dozen or so shops and restaurants that have popped up in the Victory Park area, it’s also about the money.

“We know that, definitely, the Mavs and their success is going to have a lot to do with our success,” said Bruce Cline, general manager of the gourmet Tex-Mex restaurant. He sees his dining room fill up on game nights to the point that reservations are recommended.

“We’re anxiously awaiting a great Mavs success to boost our own success,” he said.

Not that an early end to the Mavericks’ season would spell financial ruin. Even the early summer vacation of the Dallas Stars hockey team (compliments of the Vancouver Canucks) was not seen as a severe blow.

And Chris Hornbeak, whose Klad clothing shop opened about a month ago on Victory Park Lane, said he has more pressing things on his mind than Josh Howard’s jumpshot.

“I haven’t worried much about how they’re doing,” said Mr. Hornbeak, whose store was sans customers around noon on Wednesday. “The construction and the parking situation are so bad here, that’s what’s affected us most.”

Still, several merchants said Mavericks games represent a nice bump in business – a boost they hope to enjoy until June. Which won’t happen if the team fizzles out tonight.

“The perfect scenario would be for the Mavs and the Stars to win seven, and bring it back home,” said Khalil Lalani, owner of the Paciugo Gran Cafe, which sells gelato, sandwiches and Italian roast espresso from a storefront on the plaza directly outside American Airlines Center.

Tuesday night, he said, more than three dozen sports fans spent the four quarters of the Mavericks’ nail biter not inside the center, but on his shop’s patio – sipping coffee, sampling the smooth Italian ice cream and watching the playoff game on high-definition TV.

“Our business is much, much higher,” he said of game days. “Three hundred percent higher.”

He and others were philosophical about a potential Mavericks meltdown. With popular venues such as the House of Blues slated to open at the edge of the district this month, and a full menu of concerts planned for the summer, there will be other opportunities to lure patrons and their dollars, they said.

“I don’t think there are any [business model] numbers based on whether the Mavs go deep,” said Wade Hampton, marketing director for the N9NE Group, which has opened four Victory Park venues, including N9NE Steakhouse and Stuff, an eclectic clothing shop featuring wispy women’s tops and $90 belts.

After all, it’s not like sports bookies are taking odds on Victory Park’s success based on the strength of the Mavs’ offense.

“It’s nice,” Mr. Hampton said, “but it’s not something that we are living or dying by.”