Family Circle Cup to bring in the money

(Lia Sestric/WCIV)

By Lia

DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- Star athletes and record crowds could be the perfect combination for an economic ace in the Lowcountry.

The Family Circle Cup gets underway on Saturday. The week-long women's tennis tournament has evolved into one of the biggest events for the local economy.

"I would say each year it's got busier and busier," Vespa Pizzeria owner, Tammy Haight said.

Family Circle Cup's economic impact on the greater Charleston area is well over 30 million dollars. For businesses in the island town, this event brings a lot of foot traffic through the doors. Haight says her restaurant normally sees a 25 percent jump in business this time of year.

"It's a great week for us. We would love for this to be like this every week. It's great for the community and exposure for us."

Foot traffic will only pick up around the tennis center as Seven Farms Drive will be shut down during the event.

Monkee's women's boutique owner Ashley Jenkins says she has learned from past years to stock up on merchandise.

"We've been through it a few years, so we know what to expect. We know it's generally a little quiet during matches, but between matches it gets busy," she said. "Now we are prepared. I like to have a full store, so people can get what they need."

More than 90,000 visitors are expected for the women's tennis tournament that's now in its 40th year. It's been part of the island for 12 years.

"It really has become a fantastic regional event. It's not only patrons and fans from the Charleston area, people are drawn in from all around the states surrounding us," spokesperson for the event Mike Saia said.

More than 75 percent of visitors are from the tri-county area or drive in from somewhere else in the state.

The tournament runs through Sunday April 8th.