BUFFALO, N.Y. — Twenty-five years.
It's been 25 years since the Buffalo Bills last held the title 'AFC East champions.' On Saturday, the Bills brought that title back home to Buffalo, and in true Bills Mafia form, their reception was a boisterous sea of red, white, and blue.
Despite all the challenges that the pandemic has presented, Western New Yorkers have found a light at the end of the tunnel in the Buffalo Bills. Local business owners say the team's momentum over the last couple of years has not only been a necessary source of excitement and positivity for the community, but it has really helped boost sales for local businesses as well.
Nate Mroz is the owner of The BFLO Store and says this historic division title win has brought back the rush.
"In spring, obviously we had to shut down. There was certainly some concern over the holiday time, not knowing if we could stay open or not and what that looked like," Mroz said.
But after Saturday's game, Mroz says he's a lot less concerned about holiday numbers given how fast playoffs and championship merchandise are flying off the shelves.
"The phone has been ringing off the hook. Emails, texts, calls, you name it people are really wanting it," Mroz said.
And he's not the only local business owner who feels this way.
Del Reid is the co-founder of Bills Mafia and founder of 26shirts, a locally owned e-commerce store that helps give back to the community through sales of limited edition sports-themed t-shirts.
"Anything that's related you know to the football team, I think is welcomed and a wonderful gift to give to someone," Reid says. "The Bills are the extra family member in every house in Western New York."