St. Lawrence County Reels In Economic Windfall

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The dollars are rolling in as local stores, hotels and other businesses cash in on the Bassmaster Elite Tournament.

"thousands of people will bring in sales tax dollars. They'll use our local businesses and hopefully they'll come back," said Town Supervisor Mark Scott.

Dozens of spectators lined the shoreline of Waddington's Whittaker Park as the field of 99 professional anglers hit the water on opening day of the tournament - all looking for prize-winning smallmouth bass.
 
Thousands are expected to attend the tournament pumping even more tourism revenue into the local economy.

"People laughed at us when we said we thought were the fishing capitol of the world...Well, hey, look at us now," said Pat McKeown of the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce                                  
 
At the local food mart and gas station, cashier Dan Sharlow says business for has already been heavy.
 
"There's a lot of people I don't recognize...We're selling a lot of gas," said Shawlow of Kunoco Food Mart.

Most hotels in the area are either booked or nearly full heading into the weekend.

At the EconoLodge Meadow View Motel in Massena, owners say they are still booking the few rooms they have left.

"We're pretty much sold out for this week. We only have a few rooms left," said owner Sonia Desai.
 
Meanwhile, a group of graduate students from Clarkson University's School of Business is collecting data through survey forms as part of an analysis of the impact the tourney will have on the county's economy.

"The economic impact for Waddington is going to be huge," said Shashi Kanpingale, who's working on the economic impact study.                                     
 
While the pro anglers are fishing for bass, local officials are casting their hopes on a big-time economic boost.

Thursday, September 18, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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