Home run for FD

Restaurants and stores in Fort Dodge have been filled for the past few days by people wearing the logos of high school teams from all across Iowa.

Those customers came to Fort Dodge for the Iowa High School Girls State Softball Tournament, which brings increased business activity as well as sports action to the community.

“Yes, we’re incredibly busy,” said Jake Baardson, an assistant manager at Decker Sports, 3012 Fifth Ave. S. “This is one of the biggest times of the year for us.”

Larry Linn, the owner of Domino’s Pizza, 1430 Fifth Ave. S., said softball fans and players have a taste for pizza. He said his employees have been making more deliveries to hotels and the dormitories at Iowa Central Community College. He added that there’s more people stopping in to pick up pizzas also.

“It’s an increase over a typical week,” Linn said. “It’s a really nice boost to the economy, especially at this time of the summer.”

Hungry softball players and fans have to travel just a short distance from Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex, the site of the tournament, to reach the Village Inn, 2002 N. 15th St.

Andrew Ackerman, the restaurant’s general manager, said his staff has served two full softball teams and dozens of other players, fans and families of players.

Ackerman said business has been up 3 to 4 percent this week.

Merchants in Crossroads Mall see more customers during softball tournament week. Because they’re wearing team shirts and softball uniforms, there’s no doubt that many of those extra customers are in Fort Dodge for the tournament, according to Melissa Verschoor, the mall’s marketing director.

”It’s kind of a place to get away in between games, and it’s a place to get out of the heat,” she said.

According to data compiled by the Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tournament is an economic home run for the community.

Each year, it brings about 25,000 people to the city, according to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Those visitors collectively spend about $1.3 million, the bureau reported.

That $1.3 million isn’t the end of the tournament’s economic impact, however. The money the visitors spend helps to pay wages and salaries and generate profits for businesses. Much of that money is later spent locally. The bottom line, according to the Convention and Visitors Bureau, is an indirect economic impact of $4 million.