Graduation weekend a boon for local businesses

With the University of Alabama’s spring 2022 graduation over the weekend, Tuscaloosa and surrounding areas were filled to the brim with visitors celebrating monumental achievements.

Not to mention several UA sporting events, meaning an already busy weekend was stuffed even fuller.

Hotel Capstone Sales and Catering Manager Annette Smallwood said they were expecting the restaurant and bar packed out all weekend long.

“It is all hands-on deck, unfortunately,” Smallwood said. “We do use a few people for graduation because they are across the street graduating themselves. While we are excited to see them graduate, we are sad to see them go.”

Local businesses are excited about the positive impact big university events bring to their tables.

“It caps off a great spring,” Smallwood said. “We have seen an influx of travelers and groups coming in which we are so excited to see because last year was a completely different story. We are excited to see this lobby full.”

The Residence Inn on Rice Mine Road General Manager Hannah Mireles said they ensured enough staff and supplies were on hand to accommodate everyone over the weekend rush.

“It’s definitely a crazy time when it comes to graduation,” Mireles said. “We make sure we’ve got everyone on board, we made sure we had all the linen we need because that’s been a struggle with supply chain issues. Just making sure we are fully prepared to accommodate our guest in every way possible it’s been crazy, but I think we are managing pretty well.”

Parents coming into town like Brent Meadows knew where they were staying months in advance. If they hadn’t prepared, who knows where they’d have wound up sleeping?

“We started looking back a year ago, but really got serious five months ago to try to find the right room, find the good rates and whether we are going to stay here or in Birmingham,” Meadows said.

Urban Bar and Kitchen Owner Grover Ryan said they always look forward to big event days.

“A lot of my employees are working double shifts today, tomorrow, and Sunday for Mother’s Day,” Ryan said. “There’s going to be a whole lot of work and food preparation going on in this building this weekend.”

Categories: Local News