Shoppers turn out to buy U.S. Open items before start of tournament

Staff writerJune 8, 2014 

Shoppers from the general public snapped up hats, glassware and hundreds of other logo-decorated items at the U.S. Open Sunday (June 8).

 

It was the last of four days where non-ticket holders could make purchases in the 39,000-square-foot merchandise pavilion before the weeklong U.S. Open starts with practice rounds Monday.

 

University Place Mayor Denise McCluskey said the football-field-sized tent felt like a Nordstrom the way merchandise was set up, with upscale items at front.

 

Prices range from $2 for a ball marker to $1,250 for a framed print of Pinehurst No.2 golf course. Hats -- ranging from $24 to $27 -- were a big-seller. So were wine glasses and golf balls.

 

“It’s an eclectic mix -- something for everybody,” McCluskey said.

 

The mayor  was among nearly 20 public officials from Pierce County who are attending the U.S. Open this week to prepare for the major championship’s arrival next June at Chambers Bay in University Place.

 

McCluskey purchased a $109 Ralph Lauren skirt. She got a break on that price, receiving a one-time discount of 20 percent for being from the delegation of the host city for next year’s open.

 

The merchandise is a big revenue generator for the United States Golf Association, which puts on the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open. They are being held back-to-back for the first time this year at the same golf course, Pinehurst No. 2.

 

And that means more choices than usual because there are three logos: one for both championships, one for the men’s and one for the women’s.

 

The USGA doesn’t release sales figures.

 

“I think we’re off to a good start,” said Mary Lopuszynski, director of U.S. Open merchandising.

 

She said shoppers share a common goal.

 

“They want to take home a piece of the championship,” Lopuszynski said.

 

She wants to have an even larger sales pavilion for next year’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay because of already strong interest in the tournament.

 

 

The merchandise purchases also drive sales tax revenue from U.S. Opens for local jurisdictions.

 

University Place expects next year’s championship at Chambers Bay will generate from $350,000 to $400,000 in sales tax dollars for the city, said Mariza Craig, economic development director.

 

 

University Place City Councilman Javier Figueroa said he didn’t come to the tournament for the clothing. But he was impressed with the customer service and the “huge amount of variety.”

 

“I can see why they sell a lot,” Figueroa said. “I look forward to them selling a lot in 2015.”

Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647

steve.maynard@thenewstribune.com

@TNTstevemaynard

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