Senior PGA crowd doesn't boost St. Joseph business

The Senior PGA may have business booming in Benton Harbor, but some St. Joseph shop owners say they're disappointed in the lack of traffic in their downtown.

Businesses expected thousands of visitors, but say the entire week of the tournament has been slow.

"We heard something like 10,000 people a week in town," said David Miller with White Pine Winery. "So we were thinking, 'Wow we're going to be slammed.' And it really didn't turn out like that."

Miller said he'd scheduled extra staff to prepare for the tourists, which didn't end up being necessary.

Across the street at the Beachside Deli, managers ordered extra supplies for popular menu items, like gyros, to prepare for a rush.

"We got a lot of gyro cones ahead of time, but those are in the freezer," said Manager Mary Jo Henretty-Jornales. "So, unless we have a problem with electricity those would be OK. So, the fresh stuff we may lose unfortunately. We'll take that as a loss."

It's a loss that's tough for many of the St. Joseph businesses that are strictly seasonal. But it's one that doesn't have them feeling bitter.

"We think a rising tide lifts all ships and we're happy when some of our bretheren over there do well," Miller said.

Several Benton Harbor businesses reported a sharp increase in sales because of the tournament.

Saturday was the busiest day of the week for St. Joseph shops, but owners say the crowd was typical for Memorial Day weekend.


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