HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Last year, seating was limited at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium at Marshall University.
Now that the stadium has gone back to full capacity, local businesses are hoping fans come out to support the team and surrounding businesses.
On Friday, there was a last-minute rush at Glenn’s Sporting Goods in downtown Huntington as Herd football fans stocked up on shirts and everything else they could get before Saturday’s home opener.
“It was a great day here at Glenn’s, first home game is always big,” said store manager Paul Robatau.
Robatau says last year, despite the home games having limited seating because of COVID-19, fans still bought merchandise, but he expects this year to be better even as they await the coveted sideline merchandise.
“Herd fans are Herd fans, and they come no matter what, but we did OK, certainly numbers are down, but you know it is what it is and we were blessed to be able to get what we got,” he said.
It’s the restaurants, says Robatua, which he suspects suffered the most.
At the Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe, they’re ready to host Herd fans as they go back to full capacity seating as well.
“We can’t wait, it’ll be a sea of green, it’s Herd country,” said manager Marisa Milum.
Milum says they’ve amped up their COVID-19 protocols among staff, electing recently to wear masks among themselves, and they want a packed house Saturday.
“I’m sure to an extent everyone’s been affected,” said Milum.
“During the pandemic, we were really blessed to have space to stretch even when we were skipping tables and seating every other booth, we were still able to reach into our private spaces to set tables within the social distancing guidelines, so we were able to maintain and we were really thankful for that.”
Saturday’s game against the North Carolina Central Eagles starts at 6:30 p.m.