After more than two years of waiting, local businesses are eager to welcome both returning and new shoppers, and not having a major tournament like the BNP Paribas for some time, made surviving in the pandemic that much harder.
NBC Palm Springs spoke to businesses who are gearing up to welcome tennis enthusiasts and all tourists back. The announcement of the BNP Paribas cancellation made back in March of 2020 shocked both fans and business owners alike.
And when it was announced in August 2021 that the tournament would be returning for the fall and the spring, locals rejoiced.
“It’s been a tough year, it’s been a tough pandemic so it will help immensely,” said George Argyros, Owner of John’s Restaurant.
“We approximate that the BNP brings in about $400 million to the local economy each year, you know there may be some reduction in that just depending on whether they adjust the tournament to have fewer people in the stands,” explained Laura James, Vice President of Innovation with Coachella Valley Economic Partnership.
Flash-forward to today, businesses are now looking forward to welcoming shoppers back and kicking off what they hope to be a successful tourism season.
“When we first see that big influx of people coming in to watch the tournaments, that’s always our first sign of okay, it’s go time it’s happening,” said Jacob Roberts, Store Manager of Su and Seth’s Sweets and More.
“Just the news about them coming, we are so thrilled, and typically that customer or that attendee at the event shops with us so we just can’t wait that they are going to be here this week and also again in March,” added Lesley Ramirez, Store Manager of J. Mclaughlin on El Paseo.
“It’s a world-class event, it brings a lot of focus on the valley which is just all good. BNP is back baby…yeah,” said Bruce Firestone, Coachella Valley resident.
And a reminder to those heading out to the Tennis Gardens, the venue is trying to provide a touchless experience so cash and proof of vaccine will be expected digitally.