Pheasant opener is opportunity for Marshall businesses

MARSHALL — The Governor’s Pheasant Opener this weekend could be good for local businesses — but not just because it’s bringing around 150 hunters to town. Local businesspeople said Wednesday that they’re hoping the event will benefit the community in the longer term, by putting Marshall in the spotlight.  

The Governor’s Pheasant Opener is an important opportunity from a marketing perspective, said Marshall Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Director Darin Rahm. Visitors and media from around Minnesota will have a chance to see the area, and share what they see and experience. It could encourage more people to visit or do business in Marshall in the future, he said.

“The impact we will get from this event might not be felt immediately from business. But the marketing message that goes out from the Marshall community will have a lasting impact,” Rahm said.

Some local businesses will see increases in customers during the Governor’s Pheasant Opener, like hotels. Marcia Friskey, general manager at the Quality Inn in Marshall, said people have been booking rooms in town for the pheasant opener.

“I think there’s a little more buzz this year,” after Marshall hosted the 2012 hunt, she said.

Hunting season tends to bring in customers looking for pet-friendly hotels, so they can bring their dogs, Friskey said. She said hunting season also tends to bring in more out-of-state visitors to the area.

“I think it’s shaping up to be pretty good for local hotels in general,” said Jennifer Jorgensen, general manager of the Sleep Inn in Marshall, of the Governor’s Pheasant Opener. But the impact of having events like the pheasant hunt in Marshall is more long-term, she said. For example, there will be a lot of media presence at the event.

“That brings it across the state,” Jorgensen said. People don’t always remember the positive things about Marshall, and events like the hunt help showcase them, she said. In one recent example, she said, “With the 50th anniversary at SMSU, a lot of people commented on how Marshall has grown.”

When people visit Marshall, they might also be looking for places to eat or shop. Adam Lesteberg, general manager of Applebee’s in Marshall, said it was hard to predict whether the restaurant would see increased business during a one-time event like the Governor’s Pheasant Opener. However, he said he planned to be staffed and ready.

Some Marshall area businesses are sponsoring the Governor’s Pheasant Opener or taking part in the events planned around the opener. In one example, Action Manufacturing will be holding tours of its facilities on Friday before the pheasant opener.

“Our part of it is, we’re glad to show what we do in Marshall,” said Action Manufacturing owner Tim Swenson. Swenson said Action Manufacturing will also have some of its motorized trackchairs available during the Governor’s Pheasant Opener for hunters with disabilities to use.

Dennis Jensen, director of marketing and advertising at Runnings, said being involved with the Governor’s Pheasant Opener was “very exciting” for Runnings.

“We jump at the chance, because it’s a way for us to get ourselves out there,” and to promote Runnings as a destination for outdoor supplies, Jensen said. The pheasant opener was a good opportunity, because it will bring in people from around the state, he said.

Exposure to a wide variety of people and media will be a positive part of the Governor’s Pheasant Opener, Swenson said.

“Having something like this in Marshall really helps us showcase what Marshall has,” Swenson said. That goes beyond hunting opportunities — Marshall has features like a good workforce and facilities for business and manufacturing, Swenson said.