As economic details surrounding the sports and entertainment complex in Nassau County become clearer, local businesses are coming out in support of the project at a fast rate.
Dave & Buster’s in Westbury will most certainly see a decrease in its financial business and standard customers. General Manager Gregory Corbly knows that his sports and entertainment restaurant would also see a drop in promotional opportunities.
“My business is in full support of everyone voting yes on August 1,” Corbly said. “We are a grand sports café and if we lose the Coliseum and the Islanders, Dave & Buster’s would lose out on advertisement and promotional opportunities, as well as see a decrease in traffic.”
Corbly says that marketing with the team, even just through handing out flyers at home games, has helped his company a great deal. He said if a new arena is built, it will keep the Islanders where they belong, here on Long Island, and continue to drive people to his business and all other local businesses.
“I think (a new arena) would definitely increase traffic to the local businesses,” he said. “It’s absolutely going to bring more people to town, even people that are traveling into the area. It could also give me and other businesses a new way to advertise and get more of our information out there.”
He added, “I think one of the most positive attributes (to building a new arena) is that it will actually help create jobs. The more jobs there are, the more it will help all around.”
He said it’s also about more than just his business. The loss of the Coliseum would be the loss of the intense Islanders-Rangers rivalry, games that show a dramatic increase in business at Dave & Buster’s.
“There are going to be Islanders fans and just sports fans in general that support a new arena,” Corbly said. “I honestly believe that anyone in the area who likes hockey would hate to see it go. In my place of business, we have what we call ‘White Shirts and Blue Shirts’ that come for the Islanders and Rangers games. I believe there isn’t anyone on either side that doesn’t want this to happen.”
By “this,” Corbly means the loss of the Coliseum and the loss of the Islanders, losses even Corbly, a Pittsburgh, PA, native would hate to see. Corbly recently saw the heated Islanders-Penguins rivalry that intensified last season. As he watched his favorite childhood team visit Long Island, he recalled some of the great moments in the new rivalry.
“I was there when DiPietro ended Sidney Crosby’s point streak and I was there for the all-out brawl in February,” Corbly said. “I loved it. I’ve never seen fighting like that.”
That latest Islanders rivalry is one that he would hate to see go. He knows how the loss of the Coliseum and the loss of all other hockey games would hit fans the hardest.
“That’s going to be even worse for fans,” Corbly said. “Islanders fans are now just waiting. If the Coliseum is gone, the team is gone. That’s going to be very hard.”
A new arena or a future empty lot where the Coliseum currently stands will greatly affect the way of life for Nassau County residents. As a father of two teenagers, he said it would be great to keep a venue in the county for his own piece of mind. He thinks other parents could relate.
“Overall, it would just be great for all of Long Island to have a great arena, a place where we don’t have to go into New York City to watch a game or a concert,” Corbly said. “I would love to have a place where my kids can go to a concert that makes me feel safe and comfortable about it instead of worrying about them catching a train and being in the city the whole time and having to go back and forth.”
Corbly said that without a doubt, Nassau County needs a place that can add jobs and a place that will help the economy by keeping the money on Long Island.
“This would be the perfect time for everyone to make the decision to get this moving because we’ll be able to bring so much to this area,” he said. “A new arena will be the driver. It’ll be a great addition to our way of life and will help improve the quality of living here.”