Local businesses cashing in on PGA nightlife

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MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. – The PGA Championship isn’t the only major event drawing in some of the biggest crowds this week.

Many area restaurants, hotels, and transportation services are cashing in on their business.

Whether visitors were coming from or going to the championship, Basil Rudawsky of St. Louis County and Yellow Cab said he appreciated their business.

“People are just rolling in and rolling out,” he said.

Rudawsky said even though there is business competition, he didn’t mind it.

“Cabs always charge the same price,” said Rudawsky. “The rideshares surge their price, our prices remain constant, so we found people coming into our lines to get a cab ride from us.”

Rideshare companies such as Lyft are reporting that their drivers are working 12 to 16-hour shifts daily.

“This is kind of like our Olympics,” said Mary Shaw, a Lyft ambassador. “We love having the traffic and visitors. The drivers have been making really good money and they’re getting really great stories from people from all over the world.”

Many of those cab and ridesharing services have been dropping people off at several area retail, hotels, and restaurants as well.

Some Westport Plaza restaurants said that usually weeknights aren’t too busy, but recently they’ve been noticing an uptick in their revenue.

“We have seen an increase,” said Ben Sobovic, assistant manager at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. “Everyone gets a share of the wealth as far as the tips that are getting brought in with all the cooks and the bar staff.”

Experts predict that the PGA will have an economic impact of well over a $100 million on the St. Louis region.

“There’s things happening in St. Charles County Jefferson County and on the Illinois side as well,” said Anthony Paraino, director of communications with Explore St. Louis. “And those hotels and those restaurants are seeing an uptick in business this week as well.”

The championship itself has contracted with more than 30 hotels in the region, including downtown St. Louis and elsewhere in the county.

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