CADILLAC — Super Bowl Sunday used to be a pretty big night for Pizza Plus, in downtown Cadillac.
"We sell a few more pizzas than we would any other Sunday but it used to be a lot better," said Paul Kennard, whose father, Dave, opened the pizzeria in the 1960s under the name Dave and Jim's.
Kennard said sales during the big game started to slow down around 15 years ago. He theorized that more people are having food delivered to them rather than picking it up themselves (Pizza Plus doesn't offer delivery). He added that chicken wings also may have become a more popular food at parties, usurping the once-dominant pizza.
"We might do a little more (food) prep but not much more," Kennard said. "The weather Sunday might also shut things down early. We really don't know what to expect but we'll be ready for it."
Leigh Gifford, owner of Little Caesars Pizza in Haring Township, concurred that sales on Super Sunday historically are slightly better than normal but usually nothing crazy.
"I'll probably add one more person to the crew than I would on a normal Sunday," Gifford said. "It's never been one of our busiest days. It's not like Halloween or New Year’s Eve."
On Facebook, the Cadillac News asked what people's plans were on Sunday. Of the 10 people who responded, five said they didn't plan to watch the game or do anything out of the ordinary. Two of those five indicated they had to work; ironically, one said they would be "delivering all the fans their pizzas."
Of the remaining respondents, two said they were either hosting or attending a Super Bowl party and three indicated they would be watching the game with family at home.
Three of the people who responded said their Super Bowl traditions have changed over the years.
"I used to watch it before it became political," one respondent said. "More family than friends," said another.
Darren Radulski, manager of ABC Warehouse in Haring Township, said they used to sell a lot more big-screen televisions during the week leading up to the Super Bowl than they do today.
"It was huge back in the day," said Radulski.
With inventory down right now as a result of manufacturing delays caused by the pandemic, Radulski said they haven't been offering sales on TVs but for Super Bowl week, the company decided to bring back the discounts.
Despite the incentives, however, Radulski said they might only have sold a handful more units than normal this week.
"More people are carrying TVs now," Radulski said. "You can get them at Wal-Mart, online, (etc.). It used to be that ABC was the place to go."
Shelly Hamblin, sales associate at VanDrie Home Furnishings in Cadillac, echoed what Radulski said about TV sales before Super Bowl.
"They're not a luxury item anymore," Hamblin said. "It used to be really big (sales of big-screen TVs before the Super Bowl) years ago, when TVs weighed like 300 pounds but the price has gone down so much that everyone already has their own big TV. It's not a big thing anymore. But we still have them in stock for anyone that's looking for one."
Besides the big-screen TV, another absolute necessity for many people who throw Super Bowl gatherings is alcohol.
Bob Sake, owner of Thirsty's Elmrest Party Store on M-55 west of Cadillac, said alcohol sales tend to increase by around 20% on Super Bowl Sunday but this year that uptick could be less noticeable, as alcohol sales already are higher than normal, and have been since last spring, with the arrival of the coronavirus.
"It's flattened out some since the spring but it's still high," Sake said. "Snow might have something to do with that. We have a lot of snowmobilers and vacationers up right now."
Sake said they do decent beer and snack sales on Super Bowl Sunday, which is something he kept in mind when he ordered new inventory recently.
"We did factor in a little extra," Sake said. "But we also don't want to get stung (if demand doesn't match up with their supply). We try to find that fine line and not step over it."
Lt. Derrick Carroll, public information officer with the Michigan State Police Seventh District, said while they'll have extra patrols on duty Sunday in expectation of a slight increase in the number of impaired drivers on the roadway, that type of behavior is more rare nowadays than it used to be.
"It hasn't been as much of a problem," Carroll said. "I think more people are anticipating that they'll be overindulging, so they're taking steps to make sure they don't have to drive."
Temperatures Sunday are expected to be frigid in Northern Michigan and elsewhere, so Carroll advises anyone who plans to be out and about to prepare for the possibility of an emergency. That means making sure your phone is fully charged, having blankets to keep warm and filling your gas tank to ensure it doesn't run out at an inopportune time, among other things.
He said to also keep in mind that if road conditions are bad and you get into an accident, response times may be longer because there's a good chance other people have been involved in accidents, as well.