The lockout is droning on, inching closer and closer to the scheduled start of training camp.
That makes people in Bourbonnais very nervous, as the three weeks the Bears spend at Olivet-Nazarene University every summer tends to bring the town off of I-57 quite a bit of revenue.
A part of that revenue goes to T.J. Donlins, a bar in Bourbonnais that counts on the uptick in sales they get whenever the Bears are around. ESPN Chicago spoke with their owner, who is clearly concerned:
“Business is flat going into [training camp], but that’s normal,” Richmond said. “We do a nice bit during the three weeks they’re here; we love them. Unfortunately, this will affect us directly. Camp is a nice spike that we have come to kind of depend on. Being a small business, it helps quite a bit."
The concerns extend to officials at Olivet-Nazarene, who have to worry about how a pushed-back training camp could interfere with the start of classes. The Bears stay in the school's dorms and use their sports facilities and parking lots. The clash of traffic between Bears training camp and move-in day could create gridlock that the world has not seen.
While following the NFL lockout, it can be easy to look at the owners' private planes and the players' expensive suits and dismiss the lockout as a battle that doesn't affect you. But for every Roger Goodell and George McCaskey, there's a bar owner or t-shirt vendor who are feeling the pinch of no football.