From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

Red Carpet Tour keeps getting better


I know residents (including me) are ready to put this year’s Masters Tournament behind them, but I have to get this off my chest: The Red Carpet Tour and the Augusta Showcase just gets better every year.

I can cite many reasons why this is the case, but really, the best indicator is the quality of the coffee.

First, in case you’re unfamiliar with the tour and its smaller cousin, here’s how they work: Local officials and business leaders get a bunch of Masters Tournament badges and practice-round tickets. They use these to entice bigwig executive types to a big tent outside the entrance to Augusta National Golf Club. They take said bigwigs into the course, buy them pimento cheese sandwiches and tell them about how great it is to do business here.

The goal, of course, is that the VIPs return some day with a factory, office building or other job-creating industry. As strange as that might sound to the average person, it really does work (employers such as Sitel, IFF and T-Mobile were all tour guests).

Who knows, maybe some of this year’s guests (Abbott Laboratories, Champion Window and Research in Motion Ltd. ) could become corporate citizens.

Back to the point at hand – the coffee.

When I started covering the event nearly 10 years ago (it s local version, the Augusta Showcase, didn’t exist yet), the coffee was bad. Well, not bad, but kind of uninspiring, much like the coffee you make at home.

About three or four years ago, they began bringing out a fancy coffee machine with individually sealed containers that you stick into a machine, push a button and – voila! – get a gourmet brewed cup of Sumatra this or Kenya that right before your very eyes.

The improved coffee happens to coincide with a better tent, better portable toilets, a bigger television and really nice landscaping. All of these things are because of the generosity of corporate sponsors and volunteers.

To them I say: Thanks for all the hard work, and the coffee.

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