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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Masters gives Statesboro hotels a nice 'bump'

Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Masters gives Statesboro hotels a nice 'bump'

Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Masters gives Statesboro hotels a nice 'bump'

DeWayne Grice


        Every now and then it is good to get out of the Boro and get a different perspective. One of my favorite places to get a feel of how the "ordinary Georgians" are doing is Bennie's Red Barn on St. Simons Island.
        Bennie's is positioned perfectly to expose you to the upper crust Sea Island crowd, the commoners who slum it on St. Simons and the day trippers who must be out by midnight. On a busy night at Bennie's you are crammed in so tight that it is often easier to reach the condiments on the table of the stranger next to you than your own. This creates a great opportunity to eaves drop and get a feel of the life struggles others are experiencing.
        For me, it was three corporate execs from a Fortune 500 company. Dressed in their Masters regalia and discussing their day in Augusta, which made me wonder how much we are impacted in the Boro by Masters visitors.
        Even though we are 80 miles from Augusta, I learned that local hotels are filled with "fans from Florida. They come up I-95 and I-16 then take 25 to Augusta. We are a good stop each way." according to Doug Lambert, managing partner of a hotel group based in Statesboro.
        Jack Forstrom, general manager for Holiday Inn and a board meber for the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau, agreed: "We have enjoyed a very strong occupancy this week, which we attribute directly to the Masters. It's amazing the demand this event creates. Many of our Masters guests are waiting for the restaurant to open at 6 a.m., and then hit the road. Through conversations with other hotel properties, most brand name properties in Statesboro are sold out for the week, or have just a few rooms left."
        40 East Grill Executive Chef, Jace Washington, a native of Augusta, created Masters Week drink and entrée specials for locals and guests that were tremendously popular. "We definitely saw a nice Masters bump, especially in our late night crowd this week," he said.
        Then there are the locals who are fortunate enough to have badges, which they use personally or share with family members and friends.
        That was the case for Scott and Janet Moore, as they experienced it for the first time on Friday. Scott Moore said, "no matter how beautiful we imagined it from the pictures and television coverage, actually being there was no comparison. It is hard to believe how perfect every inch of the grounds are."
        Two things surprised them, he said. "The hilly terrain became more challenging later in the day and chairs with arms are not allowed, so we had to purchase new ones there."
        Regardless, if it is trying to smuggle in armed chairs or learning that the pilot of your personal jet did not reserve space to park your jet for the week, the struggles are real for many Masters attendees. The second was the dilemma for   Fortune 500 friends at Bennies. No parking space for a jet was the reason they were at Sea Island for the night instead of Augusta. Jets as in plural - three to be exact. They had come up with a workable solution over dinner which included "jet-pooling" the next day.
        In addition to reserving coveted space on the tarmac, apparently the takeoff and landing slots are scheduled well in advance. Three jets, one slot - issue resolved. If you know any private jet pilots looking for work, I predict there will be at least two openings next week.
        It is a little ironic and appropriate, that a guy named Bubba took the green jacket yet again. Let's continue the conversation on FaceBook.com/dewayne.grice or on twitter @dewaynegrice.

        Please email DeWayne at dgrice@statesboroherald.com or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.

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