Big Rock brings millions of dollars to coastal economy
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Morehead City, N.C.-- The 54th Annual Blue Marlin Tournament brings anglers and crowds from across the country to the coast. The week long tournament also pours money into the area economy.
Janeen Russell, of Jack's Waterfront Bar, says it's a great opportunity to get new customers. "Mainly the foot traffic has increased triple-fold. As soon as they boat a fish it's madness down here, people just come up to see the fish," said Russell. "It's just been great."
Darrel Lawrence, owner of Caribbe Inn, says the tournament gives his guests another reason to visit the Crystal Coast. "We often get people who come down for one day, two days, three days to watch what's going on and to keep track and to go over the weigh-in and also to come to the beach and have a good time," said Lawrence.
Big Rock officials estimate the 2012 tournament will impact Carteret County by about $55 million dollars. Organizers say they're selling around $300,000 worth of t-shirts to area retailers.
"It's a very popular event and it helps all businesses down here, not only hotels but restaurants and all the other associated businesses," said Lawrence.
The Seahawk Inn and Villas says for the past 3 years, weekends have been booked solid during Big Rock and weekday business increases an average of 18%.
Russell says employees at Jack's Waterfront Bar also benefit from the increase in business. "Our bartenders, security, bartenders and bar backs all get extra shifts which they need and love. Sales are up and tips are up," said Russell.