OCONTO, Wis. — The return of Green Bay Packers home games are about to give Greg Durand and other limo and bus operators in northeast Wisconsin one of their biggest chunks of business.

What You Need To Know

  • The Packers open at home this weekend against the Saints

  • A season-opening victory has sparked business for limo and bus service to Lambeau Field

  • Each Packers home game has an estimated economic impact of $15 million

“Everybody is excited for the season. No matter this year, last year, any season,” said Durand, who owns Bucky’s Limousine Service in Oconto. “The first weekend and the first couple of home games, there’s always high expectations.”

A win in the Packers’ opening game against the Chicago Bears helped spark interest in this weekend’s home opener.

“The first home game is always a big one. I’m pretty much booked for that already,” Durand said. “Thursday night games are huge. I do a lot of corporate stuff down in Green Bay. When people fly in to either Jet Air or Executive Air, we basically run them over to the game. Thursday night games are huge because of people, they’ll take off Friday … and we basically take them around Green Bay for a while.”

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

Each Packers home game is estimated to have an economic impact of $15 million dollars. That includes money spent on getting around.

Gregg Mills has owned Wisco Wheeler for the past two years near De Pere. He just added more buses with the acquisition of the bus guys, bringing the total to seven. He has 14 drivers.

“Right now, the Packers are just starting, but I’m pretty much booked with the big buses for the trips this year,” he said. “There are still a few games left, but that accounts for a lot.”

Mills said part of the job is making it fun for passengers in the smaller party buses.

“If I ever run into a roundabout, I’ll go around that thing three times and they’re all like, ‘What’s going on?’” he said. “They’re all laughing, and they know I’m just joking with them, but it’s fun.”

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

Durand estimates about 20-25% of his overall business comes from Packers games. He said there’s a direct tie between how the Packers do and his business.

“A playoff game is just a huge boost because the limousine business during the winter, there’s not a lot of weddings, not a lot of bachelor or bachelorette parties, so we need that to get that extra boost in January,” Durand said. “A home playoff game helps me get through a couple of the months during the winter, my slow time. The home playoff games are huge.”