AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — While all eyes are on the golf being played in Augusta this week and next, patrons are making their way to Aiken. “So Masters for retail, food and beverage and hotels, it’s like another Christmas, Aiken Chamber of Commerce CEO David Jameson said
Augusta National is about 30 minutes away from Aiken. City leaders say it’s not easy forecasting sales before the Masters tournament. “We’ve had a harness race, we’ve had the trials, we’ve had the steep chase, we’ve got polo, we’ve got a horse show in the woods, and we’ve got the downtown Art Walk,” he shared. “So many things going on that it’s hard to segregate the pre-master business.”
The tap at The Alley Downtown Taproom is flowing. “So far, we’ve had a lot more people coming in now that it’s Master’s Week. And earlier last week the steeplechase, we had a lot more people from out of town coming in,” Jeremy Hinson recalled.
Around the corner at Lionel Smith Limited, business is booming thanks to events around Masters. “We order early,” owner Van Smith said laughing. “Mainly we order early and we try to get it in,” he added.
Patrons know what they’re looking for when looking for the right outfit. “They’re looking for different things. Stuff that they can’t find back home or anything that’s comfortable. They want comfort and color, he shared.
Those visitors need a place to stay, too. NewsChannel 6 reached out to several hotels including The Willcox. Staff referred us to management but they said rooms are full around the week leading up to masters and the week of. “And next week we’ll feel it, it’ll be almost exclusively masters and our restaurants will be full, our hotels will be full, and it’s very impactful,” Jameson said.