Cenla businesses scoring in profits from Dixie League World Series


ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) – Some of the best softball teams in the country were in Central Louisiana this past week for the Dixie League World Series.

While the girls on the field were hitting home runs, local businesses were the ones scoring in profits.

“The slow months are usually the “J” months, so January, June and July, but this year it wasn’t slow,” said Neila Craig, the owner of Doce Vida Brazillian Bakery in Alexandria.

That is because of the thousands of players and fans that came into her business to buy sweets in between games. Craig said she has to prepare her shelves ahead of time with cake pops, macaroons and cupcakes to serve the week-long rush that she sees .

“Our place is small, so it gets crowded sometimes,” said Craig.

A busy business in turn helps boost the local economy. Economic surveys have shown that just a week-long world series can bring in millions of dollars to the Alexandria-Pineville area.

For Shelley Jinks Johnson, an Air BNB owner in the area, she stays booked with teams this time of year.

“I think a lot of people think because summertime is so hot here that tourism would fall off some because of that but that’s not the case at all,” said Johnson. “People with travel ball and the recreational just in general keep us really busy .”

Johnson owns two Air BNBs just down the road from the Johnny Down Sports Complex, where some of the tournament games are being played. She said she is fairly busy year-round, especially with traveling nurses, but tournament season has families and teams steadily booked with her business.

Business owners like Johnson and Craig said Johnny Downs’s new $7 million renovation project that was completed in 2021 has helped with attracting more tournaments to the area, which only means good news for them.

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