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home : business : business May 24, 2016

1/21/2014 12:02:00 PM
Sisters economy scores with shootout
Young basketball players had a good time — and gave Sisters’ winter economy a nice shot in the arm. photo by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
Young basketball players had a good time — and gave Sisters’ winter economy a nice shot in the arm. photo by Jerry Baldock

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

The main purpose of the Sisters Park & Recreation District's annual Sisters Shootout tournaments is to create exciting playing opportunities for youth basketball players from across the state. But the tournaments have another effect that folks in Sisters are happy to embrace.

The tournament hosted 47 teams - and those kids come with parents and grandparents in tow. SPRD estimates from 1,00 to 1,500 people were in town for the weekend. Based on a typical calculation for spending, SPRD estimates an infusion of about $150,000 into the local economy for lodging, meals, shopping and recreation from each of the district's two tourneys.

That kind of infusion has a real impact in the slowest part of the year for Sisters businesses.

"For any $1 spent, that gets passed around seven times," Erin Borla, executive director of the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce noted.

For Borla, the most important impact of the tournaments isn't necessarily what the participants spend while they're here - it's the potential that they'll keep coming back for vacations.

"I think there's definitely a portion of it that is immediate, but there's this exposure to Sisters that's fantastic," she said.

Sports are becoming increasingly important in Sisters' portfolio of events. Borla noted the Sisters Stampede Mountain Bike Race on Memorial Day Weekend: "That's a huge draw. It's one of the premium mountain bike races in the state of Oregon."

She also pointed out that SALI, the Sisters Annual Lacrosse Invitational, brings thousands to town, and the Happy Girl Half-Marathon last November brought many runners to town in the off-season.

According to Borla, businesses and event coordinators can cooperate to maximize the economic benefit of such events.

"Don't over-book their time," Borla says. "Give them two hours, three hours ... to explore town and relax a little bit and experience what Sisters has to offer."

On the flip side, business should be "giving them a reason to stay more than three hours in town."

Lodging establishments and cooperating businesses can create packages that encourage participants to come in a day early or stay a day longer.

Most importantly, Sisters has to be welcoming, Borla says.

"These people are our guests, so let's treat them as guests and show them how happy (we) are that they're here."

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