It's around this time of year that Sarah Redding, assistant general manager of Harry's Main Street Grille in Westminster, starts preparing for the opening of Ravens training camp. She'll create a Ravens menu, put Ravens decorations in the window and paint portions of the restaurant purple.
Down the street at Sam's Bagels, they offer a purple bagel and purple gumballs.
But that may not happen this year. As the NFL lockout continues into a third month, business leaders in Westminster and Ravens team officials are hopeful that there will be a training camp at McDaniel College, but they aren't optimistic.
And if the Ravens don't show up, the city's economy would take a significant hit.
"We've had training camp here since the Ravens came to Baltimore, and last year it was great, we drew about 114,000 fans," said Ethan Seidel, vice president of administration and finance at McDaniel. "But with every passing day, it seems more and more unlikely. With every passing day, the window gets narrower."
Seidel and Ravens president Dick Cass talk regularly. If the league ends the lockout within the next 30 days, the Ravens would still have training camp in Westminster, according to Cass. If not, the Ravens plan to hold preseason practices at the team's facility in Owings Mills and several at M&T Bank Stadium for fans if the lockout ends shortly after the 30-day window.
"I don't know if we're having training camp or not," said Cass. "It might be here or it might be at McDaniel. I assume we can't have it at McDaniel unless we let them know something within the next 30 days. From what I understand, the grass fields are in excellent shape, so the fields are not a concern."
"If we don't get there this year, we'll be back the following year," said Cass. "We love it there, and they have been great to us. The fan turnout has been excellent and their hearts go back to the days of the old Colts."
Harry's Main Street Grille was a popular place to dine in the old days of the Colts, and still among Ravens fans. According to Redding, business sales increase 15 to 20 percent when the Ravens are in town.
"That's a significant when you're talking about a place which is already busy on a regular basis," said Redding.
A lot of business increases in Westminster because of the Ravens. The Green Turtle hosts several radio shows, hosted by players such as Derrick Mason, Ed Reed, Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain. Buffalo Wild Wings Bar and Grill hosted the popular "Mark Viviano and The Bulldog" sports talk show on FM 105.7 during training camp.
"We're talking about going from full to empty," said Amanda Joy, Buffalo Wild Wings' manager, who has cancelled the show. "We'll still have the jerseys and stuff on the wall, and the town might still be painted purple, but not having a training camp, not possibly having a season, would really [stink]. It's scary, just scary, what would happen in company sales from last year to this year."
Even though there are nearly 30 days left before the Ravens have to make an actual decision on training camp, Adam Uthe, assistant manager at Shenk & Tittle Sporting Goods in Westminster's Cranberry Mall, has already noticed a decrease in the sale of Ravens' merchandise.
"Not having a training camp might not have that much of an impact on us because people are already not buying as much merchandise as in the past," said Uthe. "Right now, business is tough, it's stagnant. People are scared of the lockout. They don't know what to make of it and are not willing to put out for merchandise."
The biggest loser in Westminster might be the Best Western Hotel where the Ravens stay. They have blocked out the rooms for the Ravens for training camp, and can't re-book until notified if there will not be a training camp.
"I can't put a dollar figure on what it will cost the community if there is no training camp, but it would be significant," said Seidel, whose college is in negotiations with the Ravens for a new multi-year agreement.
But it's not all about the money. Westminster prides itself on hosting the Ravens.
"It's more than just the sales, it's the frame of mind the town goes through when Ravens come to town," said Redding. "It's a pride thing. They are in Westminster practicing where the old Colts used to practice. People come out because they want to, it's fun. It puts them in a good mood, and that infects all of Westminster.
"People are nicer on a day to day basis, they really are. People are willing to have conversations about the Ravens. They know the roster because they have been up there for five days. They are excited. It is that time, it's football, it's adrenaline. People who live here get employment there. We send out text messages because there are Ravens citings in our grocery stores. All the news stations are here and we're getting massive exposure."
Last year, Redding saw the entire offensive line and other Ravens at a bar in Westminster and paid for the first round.
"[Tom] Zbikowski was there, [Joe] Flacco, [Haruki] Nakamura, and they were all having a great time," said Redding. "We like being the host town. They are nice guys. We just don't want them around just for autographs. We're not stalkers. We just like having them around because they have become a part of us."