Stores prepare for Masters Week surge

 

Christmas comes twice a year for Bonaventure Discount Golf owner L.D. Waters.

“In April and December, we do about the same amount of business,” said Waters, whose family has run the Augusta shop on Northwest Frontage Road for more than 50 years.

The store carries golf equipment, apparel and accessories that draw in shoppers, many of whom have become regulars, from as far away as South America, Europe and Asia during Masters Week.

“It’s good to see them, not only just for their business, but you see a lot of good friends,” Waters said.

He said Masters-related business has shifted in the past few years. Now, he said it seems more golf patrons travel from abroad to attend the tournament and stay in town longer than they did previously.

That means more business for Waters and other golf shops.

“We brace for the event just like everybody else in the city,” said Tom Reagan, who manages Edwin Watts Golf in Martinez. “You get this buzz that’s created around the whole event, and the whole world focuses on Augusta, so it’s great.”

During Masters Week, Reagan said revenue spikes at least three to four times above an average week at the store on Bobby Jones Expressway.

Additional staff and inventory from the major golf companies are brought in for the busy week. Anything newly released, ranging from irons to golf balls, is always popular with out-of-town shoppers, Reagan said.

“We place orders for a little bit of extra product that we know is going to do well,” he said. “If you don’t have it this week, you may miss out on the big boom.”

Reagan said a surge in sales is even felt at the Atlanta store from travelers flying into the state capital for the tournament.

Some businesses closer to Augusta National Golf Club, such as Amy Epps’ Surrey Cen­ter boutique and gift shop, see more shoppers in the weeks leading up to the event.

Epps, who owns The Swank Co. less than a mile from the course, said the two weeks before the Masters is when she’s busiest with customers buying decor items, such as picture frames and candles, to prepare their houses as
rentals. She holds a 25 percent sale off housewares those two weeks.

“We’ll sell a lot of candles and we’ll sell a lot of room sprays,” she said. “We’ll sell little knick-knacks that they can leave for the people that are coming in.”

Many retailers see even larger crowds if there’s rainy weather during the week, a situation Waters would like to avoid at Bona­venture.

“If it rains you can’t move in my store because people, if they can’t be at the golf course, they’re going to be looking around at the golf equipment,” he said. “It makes it real hard on the golf stores because everybody comes in that day and it just makes it a madhouse.”

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