While links celebrities and golf fans are in the spotlight this week, many local businesses are working quietly behind the scenes to keep the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament and surrounding entertainment on course.
Signs of one company’s involvement in tournament-related activities are all over downtown Wilmington. Roy Morgan, co-owner of Signs by Tomorrow, said his company has seen a nice bump in business because of the tournament, a PGA Tour event that being held this week at Eagle Point Golf Club.
“The city [of Wilmington] put out a bid three weeks ago for a bunch of signs – mainly parking – and we won the bid,” he said, adding that his four-person team swung into action to place signs around downtown.
Normally, spring is a busy time for Signs by Tomorrow, but the city contract ramped up the company’s level of activity even more.
“This has been one of our busiest weeks of the year,” Morgan said. “It’s almost as good as having the film industry here.”
Wilmington-based Carolina Streetscapes also pulled together a floating green for golf patrons.
Visitors to Pier 33 on the Wilmington riverfront can challenge themselves to overcome a major water hazard, shooting across a stretch of the Cape Fear River to attempt a hole-in-one on a floating green with environmentally friendly “golf balls” made of fish food. Proceeds from the activity will benefit Wells Fargo Succeeding Together’s chosen charity, The First Tee of Greater Wilmington.
The dock structure was set up by Carolina Streetscapes, a company that works with builders, developers and property managers to provide outdoor amenities and recreational products. Carolina Streetscapes is the area representative of EZ Dock, which furnished the dock structure at a discount.
“Anyone would host a hole-in-one competition, but Wells Fargo felt that the novelty of a floating green should spark the interest of the golfing community and raise money for a great cause,” said Mark Hurt, Carolina Streetscapes’ regional representative.
Even though the project came at an already-busy time of year for the company, the extra effort was worthwhile and gave Carolina Streetscapes additional visibility, owner Wallace West said.
Another local company, High Performance Lighting & Power, provided lighting for the floating green.
“My background is in the film and television industry. I used to do a lot of touring with the Golf Channel and many golf events,” High Performance owner Steve Peterson said. “The PGA is a huge organization, and they expect a lot.”
High Performance, which provides generators as well as lighting systems, is illuminating the outdoors for a number of house parties on Figure Eight Island this weekend, Peterson said. His crew currently numbers 12.
At this time of year, High Performance is “heavily” into wedding season, office manager Regina Goodwin said, adding that normally, the first week of May would mean a series of wedding bookings for the company.
“But there were no hotel rooms available for this week, even a year out, for brides to book, so we’re not losing anything,” Goodwin said.
Hampstead, site of one of two tournament shuttle lots, also is full of visitors this week, and that has translated into increased traffic for several hospitality businesses in the area, including local restaurants.
Burney’s Sweets & More is barely a quarter-mile from the shuttle lot, so it’s seeing many new faces this week, according to owner Milushka Reed, who said the tournament is giving the bakery café an opportunity to introduce its sandwiches, smoothies and sweets to a wider market.
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