Times like these (as in “so-so”) make me glad to live here. Although the recent economic downturn (no one is using the R-word yet) has business and industry in many parts of the nation pulling on the emergency brake, the Augusta-Aiken metro area has simply eased off on the gas pedal.
When I heard that Hurricane Katrina was going to damage refineries and offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, I quickly left work and filled the tank of my Bonneville in anticipation of a shortage that never came.
In last week’s Scuttlebiz, I declared I was finished commenting on the Masters Tournament for the year, but that was before I heard a tidbit about a new food-service company vying for the tournament’s concession business.
It appears a Chicago-basedcatering company Levy Restaurants is moving into the role of concession manager for Augusta National Golf Club’s tournament. For years the job belonged to a local company, Collie Concessions.
Well, well, well.
I guess developers of the stalled Village at Riverwatch had an ace up their sleeves after all.
After nearly three years of on-again off-again (mostly off) activity at the proposed retail site near River Watch Parkway and Interstate 20, project backers have secured the holy grail of outdoor retail: Bass Pro Shops.
But is it enough to save the 170-acre tract?
Of course it is. Duuuuh.
A few weeks back I visited my hometown for the first time in nearly a decade. I decided to write about the trip because, quite frankly, being away from Augusta for 10 days left me little else to write about.
In case you missed it, the piece focused on the socio-economic changes that followed the loss of the town’s sole industry several years ago.
The hotels are empty. The street vendors are gone. The limos and vans are back in their garages. The golf fans have all gone home.
All that remains of the 2008 Masters Tournament is the money still circulating around the Augusta economy. How much money?
That’s a common question, but one that’s tricky to answer.
When I covered my first Red Carpet Tour in 1998, I practically knew everything about it before ever stepping foot inside the hospitality tent on the far southwestern corner of the Augusta National Golf Club property.
OUT WITH THE CADDY, IN WITH THE BENZ: White DeVilles have given way to silver GL 550s.
Masters visitors have noticed the change in courtesy cars as the Augusta National Golf Club has selected Mercedes-Benz as the exclusive provider of transportation services for the Tournament. For decades, Cadillac – a former broadcast sponsor – was the official courtesy car for players and other Tournament VIPs.
SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES: If the Masters Tournament had a smell, what smell would it be?
Ask that question to 1,000 people and you’re likely to get 1,000 different answers. If you asked me, I would say it smells like a cigar.
Everyone*, it seems, is smoking a stogie.
There are roughly a half-dozen tents selling cigars outside the gates of the Augusta National Golf Club, and all are doing brisk business.
PRICEY PARKING: Parking lots were filled up quickly Monday at paid lots all around the Augusta National property except for one: the National Hills shopping center.
The $40 price posted to park at the property, which was acquired last year by an Atlanta-based retail developer, is now the high watermark for Masters Week parking prices.