Businesses embrace training camp, wish for old start time

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ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Since new Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid took over he's made many changes to the squad and organization. One of those: Changing the practice time at training camp.

Last year training camp practice started around 2 in the afternoon -- this year, 8:15 in the morning. While some businesses love the change, others said the new time isn't in sync with dollars in the door.

It's a welcoming site as you drive into the town of St. Joe. Signs and banners invite Chiefs fans to stay and play in the college town

"They are excited. A whole new regime, I think that's what's bringing a lot of people down," Brad Hardgrave, the manager of Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill said about the fans.

And while the Chiefs said the number of fans attending camp is up, not all businesses are seeing the same.

"Honestly we didn't know how it would affect business. We didn't think we'd get the night business like we did last year," said Hardgrave.

Kerra Flatt, the general manager of Stoney Creek Inn said her initial thoughts were the opposite.

"Well we were really excited actually, we figured people would come down the night before, stay the night and then take in the practice in the morning. So we thought we'd see a little more foot traffic then we did last year." she said.

For these two businesses, it's actually been opposite of expectations. The hotel, known for being sold out during camp in years past, has seen a huge decline in the number of rooms rented this pre-season, according to Flatt.

"Unfortunately we haven't seen many more. Actually our numbers are pretty down from years past," she said.

While Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill says hungry and thirsty fans are filling the booths for both lunch and dinner, putting business up about 10 to 15 percent over last year.

"I'm seeing an increase more in lunch and honestly it hasn't really affected our nights either," Hardgrave said.

Despite the difference, both managers said if given a choice, they'd ask the Chiefs to move practice back to the afternoons.

"Put them back in the afternoon, definitely," Flatt said.

"Hopefully next year it goes back to normal," said Hardgrave.

The Chiefs inked a five year deal to keep training camp in St. Joe. That deal expires next year so beyond business this year, the city of St. Joe is also hoping that deal gets extended.

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