They said COVID-19 first, then Hurricane Ida made it hard.
That is why weekends with thousands of people in town are crucial for them.
"We suffered a lot the last two years," said Ali Hassan, owner of Pro Image Sports on Decatur Street near the French Quarter. "We are looking forward to having people and having a good time. We need to see people. It does look like people are coming back, we feel the energy."
Hassan had all the T-shirts in stock for all four teams in the Final Four -- Duke, Kansas, North Carolina and Villanova.
Final Four 2022: Duke, UNC basketball players and coaches talk about upcoming game
He said more will be printed after Saturday's game and then after the National Championship on Monday night.
"Everybody came out from COVID, and people ought to have fun," he said. "New Orleans is the best place in America for any sports venue and a party. It's a party town."
Hassan's shop is down the street from Woldenberg Park, where a three-day free music festival will start Friday. Arcade Fire, Khalid and Imagine Dragons are headlining.
"Whenever some sports championship happens in New Orleans, you can feel it," Hassan said.