WADDINGTON – Community leaders say almost every business in the north country can find a way to capitalize on the over $1 million in tourist dollars expected to flood the area during the upcoming Bassmaster Elite fishing tournament.
This is the most exciting thing Ive ever seen come to this area, FishCap Project Manager Donald R. Meissner said. This is a lot more than just fishing. This is a way to show the country and the world what we are really about here.
Over 10,000 people are expected to visit Waddington and the surrounding communities to watch 100 of the worlds best fisherman compete for the top prize in bass fishing at the Bass Elite Tournament. Organizers are hoping businesses will reap the benefits.
This a lot like the World Series, fisherman and St. Lawrence County Legislator Frederick S. Morrill, D-DeKalb, said.
The St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce will hold three, free classes for businesses this month. The classes will focus on customer service, marketability, and hospitality.
Simple changes such as extending hours, setting up a website, and putting a Welcome Anglers sign on the front of a business can have a big impact, marketing specialist Ruby Sprowls said.
We dont have a big box store or chain stores. We have unique businesses that can become ambassadors to the area, Ms. Sprowls said.
But it is not just businesses in Waddington that can capitalize on the tournament.
For instance, NYSARC is making use of their shuttle buses, Ms. Sprowls said. Well have directories and maps that we will hand out to visitors. Anyone that is interested in being on the map can contact the chamber.
Were looking to target the Potsdam, Massena, Ogdensburg, and Canton areas. But businesses inside or outside of those areas are certainly welcome to take advantage of this, she said.
Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandra M. Porter will kick of the Business of Bassmaster classes from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Dobisky Center.
Weve had several B.A.S.S. Chapter tournaments in Ogdensburg, so businesses are familiar with the tournaments, but they need to be reminded that this will be much bigger, Mrs. Porter said. The number of anglers will be the same, but theyll be many more spectators coming to the area looking for places to eat, sleep and visit.
Business can also sign up as sponsors or vendors for the county Chambers Tastes and Talents of the North Country festival held throughout the tournament.
We have a huge show in mind, Jo Ann Roberts, event coordinator, said. It will be a four-day free family festival. Thousands of people are expected, so we want to show people what we have here. Theyll be crafts, artisans, food and live demos.
The Bassmaster Elite Tournament will be Aug. 8 through 11.
Organizers said that if the event is a success, opportunities to host future tournaments may follow.
Every business has a chance to showcase what they really are, Mr. Meissner said. People want to see everything about the north countrynot just the fishing, but our life here. This is the event of a lifetime for the area. I hope families and their relatives come here to see what this all about. This is our audition to the world.
For more information about the upcoming tournament or to get your business involved, visit www.northcountrybass.com.