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U.S. Open brings high parking prices, not big business

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 16 2013 05:55:43 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 17 2013 07:46:35 AM CDT

Store don't see increase in sales from US Open

MERION, Pa. -

The U.S. Open has brought tens of thousands of fans to our area, but is that adding up to dollars for local businesses?  Many nearby restaurants and bars said it's been a disappointing week, sales-wise.

There's no shortage of traffic trying to navigate around the Main Line and Merion Golf Club in Ardmore.  That means lots of money for people selling parking spots.

"It's $55 a spot, with a complimentary shuttle to and from," said parking attendant Aden Twer.

But for restaurants and pubs, it's been a different story.

"It actually hasn't picked up much from the U.S. Open," said Sam Dilly, a waiter at Mediterranean Grill in Bryn Mawr.  "Because it's a day event, most people are there during the day, and we actually haven't gotten too much of an extra rush."

Several restaurants said they brought in extra staff, but didn't need them.

"It was unnecessary; we ended up sending people home because of the lack of customers," said Dilly.

Closer to the course in Ardmore, it was much the same story at A La Maison Bistro.

"Number one, the weather was so bad -- people who came here, they were soaking wet.  They wanted to go home," said owner Ted Miller.  "The other thing is, the venue is self-contained, and there's lots of food and libation."

Businesses also believe they missed out on customers because parking lots were so far away.  A small army of shuttle buses brought most customers to the Open, except for those few willing to shell out 55 bucks for Aden Twer's prime spots.

"The first couple of days were a little slow for the practice rounds, but as the actual Open started itself, business started to pick up," he said.

In spite of the lower than anticipated sales, most businesses still said they thought the U.S. Open was worth the extra crowds and traffic headaches.