AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — The impact of Augusta National not allowing spectators is not only being felt in the Garden City but also across the River.
“They’re in a good mood, they’re happy, they’re with friends and family,” President/CEO/Head Chef of Prime Steakhouse Randy Stamm told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk when asked about patrons during Masters’ week.
In order to eat at Prime Steakhouse in Aiken, you have to be willing to spend a pretty penny to hang with this crowd. “Upscale, stakes, whole lobsters, huge chops. Some things that you just can’t find anywhere else,” Stamm shared.
He and his team have seen Masters’ traffic in and out the area for at least a decade. “A Master’s, at least for me, has involved in a whole month worth of extra business. They’re all here two weeks before — they’re all here. Two weeks after, all of the manufacturer equipment companies and all the PGA tour pros they all eat here now. It probably won’t be anything new, anything abnormal, just a regular week.,” he said.
Stamm like many in the hospitality and hotel industries are feeling the pinch of no patrons at this year’s masters as well as a global pandemic. Many were counting on a fall Masters windfall to help make up for some of the losses in April.
“You know, obviously the Masters is a huge part of local tradition and the local economy, and any impact to that tradition is going to be painful,” City of Aiken Economic Development Director Tim O’Briant said.
Like many others in the All America City, O’Briant said he saw the writing on the wall before the announcement.”We knew it was a possibility and we were waiting for the official announcement that hoping that there may be some reduced number of patrons that would be allowed to attend the tournament. As more and more events and especially sporting events faced limitations, it became more and more clear that it was likely there would be no,” he said.
For Stamm, he’s more concerned for the employees who aren’t able to work and the customer who expects a level of elegance when in town for the masters.”I have to fly in professional chefs and professional waiters from New York just for the overflow. Now, this is the second time they’ve been disappointed. I don’t know if they will come back next year to work.” he said.
Aiken leaders say they are just wanting to see what could happen next year. “I just hope things get back up and running as normal for the April version of The Masters. I hope we can welcome all the golf fans down and get back to what we’re used to,” O’Briant added.
The changes to the Masters not only affecting businesses. Some students were thinking about working concessions during Masters week to earn a little bit of money.