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Senior PGA brings economic boost to Benton Harbor

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- Businesses in Benton Harbor are benefiting from the few thousand people visiting southwest Michigan for the 2018 KitchenAir Senior PGA tour. 

They say it not only brings in a few extra bucks, but it also highlights the Benton Harbor community.

At Charlie’s Piggin n’ Grinnin, it's lunch time. But on this Tuesday, general manager Virginia Kierstead and her staff are cooking more than their usual barbecue fare, creating a recipe that can handle the expected increase in customers because of this week's PGA tour just down the road. 

"Yeah we bought three times more than usual," said Kierstead. "It’s a bunch of new faces, new people coming in. I just love the public."

Kirstead says the tour’s previous three stops increased business by 45 percent, a much needed boost.

"It helps get us through the winter," said Kierstead. "The more things they bring down here to Benton Harbor since we’re trying to rejuvenate everything, the better."

At The Livery, head brewer Simon Rusk believes his brewpub can tap in on the thousands of people visiting the area too.

“I’m not expecting a knockout weekend, but we’ll certainly see an increase in business," said Rusk. 

He adds each year the championship comes to Benton Harbor, he sees more progress, which is a hole-in-one for both businesses and the community.

“I think people have come to understand better that this is actually a great, great area and a super safe place and a fun place for families to come to," said Rusk.  


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