Football time in Tennessee means a lot of crowds, a lot of labor and a lot of money.
"Basically, game days are our business," Devin Jones, fifth-year senior in marketing and an employee at Rocky Top Books, said. "Especially after the first of the school year and people aren't looking for books anymore."
On a Saturday game day, it is not unusual for servers and bartenders to walk out of work with more than double their usual tips. Tom Burnett, a bartender at The Tin Roof and a UT graduate in art history, said he makes triple on a typical Saturday game day.
"It's an all-day adventure of making money," Burnett said. "It's just hard to stay awake."
Many people employed by businesses on the Strip work shifts longer than 10 hours. Depending on the time of the game, employees will arrive long before regular business hours. Last weekend, Domino's assistant manager Chuck Vogel arrived to work at 7:30 a.m. and delivered more than 45 pizzas before 10 a.m.
Accommodating the large volume of people on Cumberland Avenue can be a challenge, forcing businesses to stretch their staff and their resources.
Sometimes, Shell gas station will stop selling gasoline due to parking lot congestion.
"It's a mad house," Jennifer Silvious, employee at Shell, said. "We are packed wall-to-wall, and the bathroom's line (is) almost backed out the door."
To prepare for such high demand, Silvious said Shell will have multiple trucks arrive the night before, largely full of beer – its biggest game-day seller.
However, just across the street, Hookah Hook Up has a quite different experience.
Saturdays are usually a busy day for the shop, but on football game days, it becomes one of the slowest.
"Regulars don't come by," Michael Green, store manager, said. "I'd say a 40 percent reduction in sales. We never really expect anything."
The time of a game can also be a determining factor for customer traffic. Employees at Mellow Mushroom, The Tin Roof and University Liquors note that later games yield much more business.
Helen Morton, co-owner of University Liquors, said that midday games don't do much for their business. And with the football program's lack of recent wins, Morton said she has seen a decline in business in the eight years that the store has been at its current location.
"The football program and the success thereof translates into the bottom line for businesses throughout Knoxville and East Tennessee," Morton said.
The businesswoman also said when the Vols are losing games, late kickoff times are ideal, because they translate into a "full day of optimism."
Business at Walgreens and other convenience stores is drastically less affected by the time of kickoff. Walgreens employee Dustin Aldridge said business ranges from "hectic" to "very hectic" with a brief lull once the game begins.
Regardless of how the Strip's businesses fare on game days, most employees recognize just how essential the university is for overall business.
As Morton puts it, businesses near the school often will "do 12 months' business in eight."