AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – In about five weeks, the global spotlight will be on the Garden City. The annual Masters tournament not only brings great golf, it also helps to boost the local economy. Several businesses around town weighed in on how they are preparing for the influx of people and the dollars that will come with them.
“The big event is almost here. When the eyes of the world are on Augusta,” Brad Merry and his brother said on a commercial that runs on WJBF NewsChannel 6 promoting shopping for furniture.
CSRA businesses are pulling out the marketing strategies ahead of the prestigious tournament. Merry’s Trash and Treasures in downtown Augusta is one of those stores.
“Make your home Masters ready by making it a merry occasion,” Merry said on an advertisement.
The Broad Street furniture business started taking calls from customers gearing up for the Masters shortly after the holidays.
“We actually start getting calls, it starts a day after Christmas believe it or not,” said Merry, co-owner.
As the bell rings on the front door, Merry said he’s seeing more people prepare their homes for tournament week renters.
“They choose to invest wisely and put it back in the house. We do everything from bedroom furniture because many people turn studies into bedrooms for that week.”
Glen Bynum said he’s getting calls constantly from potential renters after a slow start at Diamond Home Rentals.
Bynum, Director of Sales and Marketing told NewsChannel 6, “Really we can’t figure it out. I know it’s the same across the board because I heard from some of the other rental companies that they experienced the same thing where we usually rent quite a few homes during the summer, fall and winter where this year it was slower around that time period.”
After the New Year, renting picked up across both Richmond and Columbia Counties.
“You want to list it for the very bottom dollar you would take,” Bynum told a caller wanted to add a home to the company’s list.
And homeowners still listing now are offering smaller homes at lower costs.
“As far as advertising for homeowners we don’t do much here in Augusta, just word of mouth. Customer- wise just being at the top of the listings for Yahoo and Google,” he explained.
New this year, Bynum said his company added a deck to its 1018 Club on Azalea Drive. It’s a hospitality house only open five days during the Masters Tournament. Corporations still looking for places like this one are considered late.
“Believe it or not people will start calling us about 30 days after this Masters is over. It’s really beneficial for them to do that. Kind of like the early bird gets the worm,” he said.
Merry added the Masters is a gem for businesses in Augusta.
“I don’t want to ever take for granted the fact that that tournament comes basically the same week every year. We are so blessed that our area can benefit from such a great event,” he said.
One of the first signs of Masters is the Golden Ticket bus. Bynum is the sales guy for that too and he said that really is when it hits all of us that it’s time.
Photojournalist: Gary Hipps