U.S. Open can boost local businesses, University Place leaders told

Staff writerJune 9, 2014 

— Besides watching golf, people who attend the U.S. Open also spend their time and money at local businesses, the leader of the Moore County Chamber told University Place officials Monday (June 9).

That was encouraging news for several University Place City Council members and others in their delegation attending the U.S. Open to prepare for the championship’s arrival next June in their city.

Economic development director Mariza Craig her city’s been told attendees will be so tired from watching golf all day, they’ll go to their hotel and eat at the closest restaurant.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a hotel within our city limits,“ Craig said.

Craig said she was encouraged by the message from Linda Parsons, interim president of the Moore County Chamber.

“Not everybody can go every day,” Parsons said. There are also vendors and volunteers to draw to local businesses.

“That’s what people are really striving after -- that local experience,” Parsons said. “They want to sit in a restaurant next to a business owner who’s been here all their life and learn a little bit about a community.”

But Parsons stressed leaders need to work at communicating with local businesses and reaching out to others about the U.S. Open. That means using social media -- especially Facebook and Twitter -- to communicate about the impact of the open and what businesses have to offer. It also means working to keep the business of local residents.

Moore County, which includes Pinehurst, has a population of 93,000.

The Moore County Chamber put on a town hall meeting and produced a magazine and discount cards for local businesses in preparation for the U.S. Open, which started Monday with practice rounds. Parsons said she’s seen an increase in traffic at some local businesses since Friday.

City Council member Caroline Belleci the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay will need its own coordinated marketing effort targeting University Place and beyond.

“It’s not just a University Place event,” she said.

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