With the Masters Tournament less than two weeks away, local businesses and city officials are in high gear, preparing for visitors who will soon flock to Augusta.
On Wednesday, overhead traffic signs went up on Washington Road, Wheeler Road and Riverwatch Parkway to guide visitors to the tournament and back to Interstate 20, said Mike Edwards, the operations manager for the city's traffic and engineering department.
This week, Jeremy Kelley, the owner of landscaping company Between the Edges, started doing maintenance work for businesses, restaurants, doctor's offices and corporate clients, such as Century Glen apartments on Alexander Drive -- pruning trees and shrubs, adding mulch and planting flowers.
"They tend to really want to get dressed up for the week of the Masters," Kelley said.
Most of his residential clients live in West Lake and rent their homes during the tournament.
"We have a lot of customers over in that area who don't rent their homes out, but they want to get it dressed up so they can advertise it to maybe rent next year," he said.
This time of year, his business increases 25 to 30 percent. Kelley hires four to five extra workers, and his crews work from sunup to sundown six days a week.
Maid services are also in full swing. Quentin Dotson, the owner of Summerville Maids, maintains a separate schedule to keep up with his Masters-related business, which doubles his workload during that week. He hires four extra employees.
"The week before is definitely busy because the majority of people want to have their house cleaned right before their guests come," Dotson said.
Merry Maids typically cleans 15 to 20 homes a day, owner Robert Ledford said. This number increases by 10 to 15 homes per day during the tournament.
This week, Ledford is doing estimates, and his workers will start preparing homes for guests.
Rather than hiring extra workers, he gives his employees overtime pay. During the week of Masters, they work every day.
Cindy's Catering starts preparing for the Masters a year in advance, owner Cindy Crawford said. Her clients are mostly corporate groups.
"Some of our clients, we book from year to year. They know they're coming, so they book us before they leave," Crawford said. "We're still getting clients for this year. It depends on the corporation, their plans and when they find out they're coming."
For the week of Masters, she hires about 50 extra workers. The week is labor intensive because food has to be transported to numerous homes. On most days, staff members get home at midnight to 1 a.m. and have to awaken at 4 a.m.
"You average between two and four hours of sleep at night most of the week, especially Wednesday through Sunday. It's a lot of work and planning," Crawford said.
She will receive her first truckload of food April 2. Then, she'll get a truck of food each day during Masters.
Bulbs that were planted in October are starting to bloom on Broad Street, said Rick Acree, the city's assistant director of public services. The spring spruce-up around town isn't only for the Masters -- it's part of regular maintenance, he said.
City workers painted railings green around parking areas on Broad Street last week, said Bo Fowler, the facilities management operations manager for the construction shop. They also cleaned fountains, replaced lighting and painted railings along the Riverwalk.