JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The sudden cancellation of A-State football's first home game blindsided Red Wolves nation, especially businesses.
Hopes were high for restaurants, fans, and hotel owners, especially for the owner of Hampton Inn in Jonesboro, B.R. Suri.
Suri said once the news spread that the University of Miami canceled due to the threat of Hurricane Irma, the hotel's front desk phone started ringing off the hook. He said there were calls from fans who had plans to travel from out of town to see the game.
On Wednesday morning, as Region 8 News set in the lobby of Hampton Inn talking with Suri about the impact it has left on his business, 10 guests called and canceled their stay for the weekend in a matter of minutes.
He said the hotel was booked full for the weekend, which he was looking forward to the revenue that would come from the big game.
In the end, he said 50 rooms are expected to be canceled, losing thousands of dollars in revenue.
"All the people who were supposed to come, groups, they have canceled all reservations," Suri said. "That's going to be a loss near $7,000-$7,500."
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin echoed the thoughts of Suri on bringing a large amount of revenue to the city.
"Obviously, we would love to have the revenue, no question about it," Perrin said. "With a game that size, there would have been a lot of people in town, and they would spend money while they are here, but you have to look at the why."
Perrin said his focus is on the more important matter, which is the safety of the University of Miami football team and the state of Florida.
"The main thing that we need to stay focused on is the reason why," Perrin said. "Why they aren't coming, I think the reason for that is the weather and our prayers and thoughts are going to be with them, just like in Houston. As mayor, I'd certainly like to extend our deepest concerns, prayers, and thoughts to the mayor in Miami and the whole area in Florida."
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