Kinston business owners react to return of Down East Wood Ducks

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KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — The Down East Wood Ducks kicked off their home opener at Grainger Stadium Tuesday night.

The Wood Ducks are back in Kinston after more than 600 days with no baseball. Fans aren’t the only ones who are excited about the team’s return.

“We’re missing a lot of revenue,” said Joseph Hargitt, owner of Kings Restaurant. “We’re ready for it to come back.”

The Down East Wood Ducks took on the Carolina Mudcats in their first game back in Grainger Stadium in 612 days.

“I think everybody is really excited,” said Janell Bullock, assistant general manager of operations for the team. “We did some events last year with some high school games with just parents, so we did have some baseball. But it’s just not the same as like having all the fans and everybody can come out and just that feeling of having baseball.”

It’s been a long 612 days for baseball fans, but also for local business owners like Hargitt. Hargitt said he’s looking forward to the extra revenue the team brings to Kings Restaurant.

“We cater the visiting teams and the home teams when they’re here in town, so economically it’s a plus for the restaurants locally just for that, not including the extra people that are in town that generally tourism dollars, spend the night here and other things to help us out,” he said.

Hargitt said the team’s return not only helps his restaurant, but the City of Kinston as a whole.

“The visiting team has to get hotel rooms, so they’re going to have to eat breakfast and lunch somewhere and it helps out the restaurants,” he said. “It helps out the hotels. It’s just generally a good impact for the local economy.”

The Wood Ducks will host the Mudcats in games throughout the rest of this week.

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