Are Businesses Profiting From the U.S. Open?

Some business owners say they aren't seeing any green at one of golf's biggest events

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Queen Muse

    Major sporting events are often expected to attract new customers to local businesses.

    But less than a mile away from the Merion Golf Club where the 2013 U.S. Open is being hosted, business owners in Havertown's Oakmont shopping district say they're not seeing the green.

    "We were excited. We thought business would pick up. We even added people to our day shifts, but it’s been dead all this week so we had to send them home," Praweena Kongsom said.

    Kongsom, 37, owns Kaffir Thai Cuisine restaurant on Eagle Road which is roughly a three to five minute drive from the golf course.

    Neighboring business owner of Hoopty’s Pizza and Pasta on Darby Road Matt Giangiulio did everything from creating a special U.S. Open food menu to extending the shops’ hours in order to attract more customers, but saw little reward from his efforts.
     
    “Overall I'm seeing less orders, but when the orders do come in, they're for higher volume because a lot of people need food for watch parties," he said. "It’s not as busy as we expected."
     
    Judy Russell, 46, owns Needle Me, a needlepoint craft shop. She had hoped to draw new clients with her custom Merion 2013 window display, but said the charter buses have been driving potential customers right past the businesses.
     
    "Normally this is our biggest day, but many of the people who are here are being bused in from surrounding areas. I mean I just had a woman here from Louisville, Ky. call me and say she wanted to jump off of the bus to come to my store but she couldn't," Russell said. "It's been really, really bad. I mean it's done absolutely nothing for the businesses here. It's a shame."

    One business that has seen some additional foot traffic from the Open is Burke's Inn. The owner of the pub Jim Corr says word of mouth is probably the reason more people are stopping by.

    "We've got the cheapest Guinness around town and its poured right by the right people. When people get word of that it brings people in, plain and simple," he said.
    While Burke's Inn is celebrating its new visitors, Kongsom says she's just ready for things to get back to normal.

    "I'm just glad there's only one more day left. It's almost over."

     


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