Super Bowl LVII: Some businesses say Business Connect didn't work

Super Bowl has come and gone, and during the week of the big game, a lot of businesses say they made big bucks.

"Gosh man, it was off the chain," sadi Gary Clark with Honey Bears BBQ. "It was crazy."

However, that was not true for every business.

Honey Bears BBQ was one of the 200 minority or women-owned small businesses in the Valley that made it on the Super Bowl's ‘Business Connect' list.

We reported on the Business Connect program in February of 2022. The program, which is a partnership between the National Football League (NFL) and the Arizona Super Bowl 2023 Host Committee, was a diversity initiative that connects Arizona businesses with opportunities to compete for contracts for the big event.

At the handoff ceremony on Feb. 13, Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said the initiative worked.

"Over a hundred business contracts were awarded to local, diversely-owned, women-owned businesses. The most success we've ever had," said Bidwill.

However, some people, like Infinity Sweets owner Stephanie Brimley, had less than stellar reviews of the initiative.

"As soon as I got an email, I was so excited," said Brimley, whose business was on the Business Connect list. 

Brimley said despite her initial excitement, Business Connect never led to any business for her. She knew that could happen, but was disappointed the economic surge passed her Central Avenue storefront.

"That was said in the beginning too, that not everybody would get contracts," said Brimley.

Another business that failed to get a contract was Amazing Flowers.

"Well, you got excited of course. You are the best of the best," said Blanca Mondragon, who owns the business. "After a couple weeks or months, we just stopped hearing anything from them,"

Mondragon said there was a lot of indirect business, even if there weren't enough contracts for everyone.

"It was just insane and crazy. Even if the customer didn't call you directly, it was another business calling you because they need flowers for their events," said Mondragon. "At the end, I think everybody received a piece of the cake.

Other businesses we spoke with that received contracts say it was big for their business's bottom line.

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