Good news for Bourbonnais as Bears training camp is back in business

July 25, 2011

By Alex Keefe and The Associated Press

(AP/Nam Y. Huh)
Fans look on as Bears players stretch at training camp in Bourbonnais last year.

The National Football League players and owners finally agreed to end their lockout on Monday, after a four-month stalemate. And that's good news for some business owners in Bourbonnais, where the Chicago Bears have their annual training camp.

The Bears were supposed to report to training camp in Bourbonnais, about 60 miles south of Chicago, on Friday. But that was delayed, thanks to the impasse between the NFL and the players union over a new collective bargaining agreement. The NFL Players Association executive board and 32 team representatives voted unanimously to approve the terms of a new agreement Monday.

And as fans welcome the return of NFL football this fall, some Bourbonnais business owners have their own reason to celebrate. Tommy Vasilakis, who is the brew master at the Brickstone Restaurant and Brewery, said said he's come to rely on the influx of thirsty fans who've been coming to watch preseason practices for the last decade.

"Besides an increase in business, we also get ... people from up north come and introduce themselves to the area, so we might get some repeat customers," Vasilakis said.

Butch Hovarter, who owns a hamburger stand near the Bears' practice field on the Olivet Nazarene University campus, said he welcomed the news this morning that players and owners agreed to end lockout.

"We're very excited to hear and see that it's coming to an end, and they'll get training camp open hopefully toward the end of the week," he said.

A Bears spokesman wouldn't confirm that timeline. But the team has less than a month before its Aug. 13 preseason home game against Buffalo.