The area near Toyota Center isn’t exactly a hotbed of nighttime activity, like you find in some cities. But there are still businesses that rely on foot traffic from the conventions and the Toyota Center, specifically the Rockets. Places like Ben’s Beans, a new coffee house that was depending on Rocket fans to help take them financially through the winter.
Manager Rex Deaton:
“I think it’s going to be a huge impact to not only us, but everybody in this area. Because there are so many people who work in restaurants, coffee shops, facilities, parking lots, Toyota Center, hotels, it’s going to have a tremendous impact on not only us, but every city in the country that has an NBA facility.”
Deaton says with the economy the way it is, the NBA owners aren’t going to agree to many concessions and he believes the players are making a mistake by holding out.
“A small handful of NBA players might be able to withstand it, but the majority of them are going to get hurt just like all the people who work in the industry of servicing NBA teams and facilities.”
Anyone who’s driven near Toyota center knows there lots of parking lots in the area. Some of them are owned by Kent Maree who said the lockout is hitting him hard.
“Hard. Real hard. You go from charging nothing, because there’s no Rocket fans, from $20 and $15 a car. And you do that 5 or 600 times times you know how many games you’re missing. You’re talking a substantial amount and you know those taxes are still do on those lots.”
Maree says he has contacts who’ve told him there won’t be a season until at least January if at all. And even though he got a financial boost from the NCAA Final Four earlier this year, he says it’s not the same as that long NBA season.
“You kind of go by your seasons. You know what you can count on during the Rockets season, then you know what you can count on during the Texans season, then you get into the Rodeo and baseball. Well, we all know what the Astros did. (laugh)”
I asked him if the lockout is making him depressed or keeping him up at night.
“It’s all in God’s hands. I don’t control that. It’s all in his hands. It’s not in my hands, so I turn it over and let it go.”