BUFFALO, N.Y. – Nearly everywhere Lou Billittier turns these days, the Buffalo restaurateur is reminded of the NHL lockout, and its impact on his blue-collar, sports-mad town.
Billittier has missed the familiar faces of Sabres players having their game-day lunch at his restaurant, Chef's. His food supplier is struggling. And then there are the part-time arena employees who stop in looking for work, who he has to turn away because his own business is down.
It's a trickle-down effect, which he calls "brutal."
And Billittier is not alone.
From the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto to Hockeytown, aka, Detroit, a wide array of businesses located in the NHL's 30 markets have taken a significant hit because of the lockout that's now in its fourth month, wiping away 527 games.