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Some local businesses doing better amid postponed BNP Paribas Open weekend

This time of year organizers would have been putting the final touches on the BNP Paribas Open, which was scheduled to kick off on Monday. Amid the sweeping cancellations and postponements of large events throughout the Coachella Valley, the tournament was also postponed until further notice, making it the second year in a row that the major event wouldn't take place in March.

According to the tournament website, the event's financial impact in past years has been as high as $400 million.

While many local businesses look forward to cashing in on the revenue spurred by thousands of tourists flocking to the Coachella Valley, 2 businesses that spoke with News Channel 3 have been doing quite well, all things considered.

"You come into March, you think tennis. You come into January, you think golf. You come into April, you think festivals and when those things aren’t here you almost don’t know what to expect," said Bryan Newman, owner of Pedego Electric Bikes in La Quinta.

Newman's business has been one of the lucky ones, having seen an increase in sales throughout the pandemic.

"As of last March when COVID started to come up we noticed we saw a lot more people than we typically do in March. Then of course Coachella was canceled in April, which we thought would hurt us substantially because it’s a pretty large revenue source for us and we saw more people coming in to buy electric bikes than we could have ever imagined," said Newman.

During this time of year, thousands of people flock to the Coachella Valley to watch some of the world's best tennis players compete in the desert. The postponement has meant a loss of revenue for local businesses looking to cash in on the influx of people in the valley.

Newman's business also capitalizes on the opportunity when the tournament rolls around.

"We were renting quite a few bikes to some of the players as well. Serena Williams and Djokavic would actually rent bikes and we would drop those off and they would have all of their entourage and coaches and family that would use bikes to get to and from," said Newman.

Despite the fact that Pedego won't be providing transportation for the tournament, at least in March, the demand for electric bikes is through the roof.

"I would tell you we’re disappointed to see it, however, because we’re still busy, we may not notice it as much as the other businesses. We try to keep that somewhat quiet because we know there’s a lot of businesses that are struggling right now."

A similar situation can be said for several of the restaurants in Old Town La Quinta, including Fortune's Kitchen and Bar.

"From last year to this year, I think we’re doing pretty well without the BNP," said restaurant manager, Deanna Frescas.

Frescas said they usually see visitors from the tournament coming in later at night for drinks and a small bite. Though that won't be happening, Frescas said the restaurant has been busy regardless.

Saturday was a prime example, with Frescas saying "we’re booked up twice and over, so it’s good for us it’s very good."

"Most of the restaurant is a patio restaurant so we are benefitting from having patio dining."

Under state guidelines the restaurant is currently serving diners outdoors.

"There’s a huge amount of gratitude for being able to dine out now and we see that with our diners," Frescas said.

Meanwhile, organizers for BNP Paribas declined News Channel 3's request for comment.

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Shelby Nelson

Shelby Nelson is a News Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. She joined our team in September 2019 after living in San Francisco for 6 years. Learn more about Shelby here.

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