Large Crowds Not Translating to Big Bucks for Businesses Around Solheim Cup

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa --  Local business owners didn't know what to expect when the Solheim Cup came to town.  A few of them don't like what they've seen.

“We anticipated around, I think, 200,000 people,” said Brittany Bonnicksen, West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce.

“Yeah, nervous at the same time because I had no idea,” said Jon Johnson, Pickerman’s Deli in West Des Moines.

Both Pickerman’s Deli and Northern Lights Pizza are near the country club and they prepared for it to be extra busy.

“A couple hundred, 200 or 300 pizza,” said Mark Emerson, Northern Lights Pizza in West Des Moines.

The traffic has picked up over there, as it’s a constant stream of cars but unfortunately no one is stopping in.

“We’re really slow,” said Emerson.

The road closures and detours have even stopped regulars from coming in.

“Much slower.  It’s kind of weird, you’d expect a lot more with this kind of thing going on,” said Emerson.

Brittany Bonnicksen is with the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce and she's surprised that it's been slow.  Bonnicksen did provide some context though.  She said a lot of locals are staying away from that area to avoid traffic.

She also explained it’s difficult for spectators to go in and out of the cup and with a ton of food options inside.  That said, Pickerman’s and Northern Lights shouldn’t expect a lunch crowd.  She hopes they can be patient because, while it is slow now, wait until Thursday.  That’s when the pros play and that’s when the fans will follow.

“Once Thursday through Sunday starts that’s when it is definitely going to pick up.  Hopefully it’s going to be great for our economy.  Get those businesses up and running with those people flooding in,” said Bonnicksen.

There are facts to back Bonnicksen’s optimism. She knows hotel occupancy rates jump in West Des Moine starting Wednesday night and pretty much everything is booked all weekend. She also says the Solheim Cup ends around 5 p.m. each night and all of those people will need to eat after. So, while it’s slow now, come Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, these businesses will be wishing for a break.