The Luxury Box on Channelside Drive seems like the perfect location. The now-defunct restaurant-bar sits in the shadow of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, ideal for crowds from the RNC and pre-season hockey.
Tampa, Florida -- The fallout from the hockey freeze is being felt in sunny Florida.
The battle between the union and the owners has been going on for the past several weeks since mid-September, and experts say there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.
For Tampa Bay Lightning fans, the lockout is kicking in, and it hurts. For one business, in particular, it's been a nightmare. When the Luxury Box went into business two years ago, it was supposed to be a success story.
After all, how could you go wrong?
The Luxury Box on Channelside Drive seems like the perfect location. The now-defunct restaurant-bar sits in the shadow of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, ideal for crowds from the RNC and pre-season hockey. The owner was looking forward to big bucks and big crowds from the convention and the NHL hockey season.
Sadly, both events have proven to be a bust.
Steve Davis is the owner of the Luxury Box and isn't happy.
"The city never came to us and said, 'hey guys, you're gonna be inside the perimeter, you should close down.'"
Due to the fencing surrounding his business, Steve says the RNC killed him. He sent 17 kegs and thousands of dollars worth of liquor back to the distributors.
And, with the NHL lock-out, it's the front doors that are now locked and business isn't booming at all. He's talked about a possible lawsuit against the city.
"Had somebody let us know, we probably would have never opened," Steve told 10 News.
So, what seems to be the magic touch when businesses feel the financial fall-out from a hockey freeze? Just ask David Mangione from the legendary and historical downtown hockey hot spot, Hattricks.
"We're very lucky," David said Monday afternoon. "I think we're lucky. We got here at the right time. We got here when hockey started at the forum and have grown with the team."
As a general manager and partner, David loves his job and his customers. And, while he isn't exactly thrilled about the lock-out, he's not worried either.
He says the business model that keeps Hattricks successful is not depending on events, but rather keeping up with the locals for lunch. That's where the profits are, he says, with the regulars. It all comes down to history and habit.
He told 10 News, "The big thing for us is we are in downtown Tampa, customers are entrenched in coming to Hattricks as a routine. There are a lot of people who work downtown, we've been here since 1997. This is kind of a destination place for people for lunch."
He added, "We treat people right and want to make them happy. Good food and making people feel special. We want them to feel at home and come back."
That leaves the question -- what seems to be the problem with the Luxury Box location? Is it cursed? Before it was the Luxury Box, it was a Beef O'Brady's. But, it closed. We posed that question to David Mangione.
"Well, is it cursed? I just don't know, and I can't really comment on their [business model]. I know that they depend a lot on events. And, that can be tough. For us, events are gravy. We depend on our regulars, our lunch crowd."
The owner of the Luxury Box would not comment on whether ot not a lawsuit would be filed soon for loss of business during the RNC.