World Games to bring positive economic wave to city of Pelham

Published 1:37 pm Thursday, June 30, 2022

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By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

PELHAM – The 2022 World Games will take place from July 7-17 with various events taking place throughout the Birmingham area. Oak Mountain State Park is set to host the waterskiing, wakeboarding and canoeing events.

Along with the events is the anticipated 500,000 spectators and 3,600 athletes over the games’ duration. With such a large influx of people, local businesses are highly anticipating the increase in volume and are doing what they can to prepare.

“We are excited to welcome athletes and spectators to Pelham for The World Games 2022,” Pelham Mayor Gary Waters said. “We hope visitors will explore everything we have to offer, from our recreational offerings to our variety of restaurants and locally owned businesses. The Pelham Racquet Club has had an international following for many years. It’s time we share Oak Mountain State Park with the rest of the world.”

Michael Simon, the economic development director for the city of Pelham, said the influx of people will have a huge impact on the local economy, and several business owners are ready to show the world “our friendliness and hospitality.”

Founder and president of Oak Mountain Brewing Company Peter Generaux said OMBC is incredibly excited to introduce its craft beer to this volume of people.

“The World Games puts our city in the spotlight and allows us to showcase what we do best to an international audience: Serving world class beer in a welcoming environment featuring food and live music,” he said.

For Creekside BBQ owner Eric Pippert, he said there is only so much you can do to prepare besides extra ordering and making sure staffing is appropriate.

“Obviously, it’s difficult to staff properly in normal conditions, so the restaurant itself is already built to handle normal volume so we’re just trying to make sure everyone shows up to work every day.”

Pippert said he and his staff are excited to see what the World Games bring with that high a volume because “the possibilities are endless.”

“I’m hoping that it’ll be a good influx of people but that it spaces out throughout the day and not all at once,” he said. “We’re prepared to take whatever happens, but I hope to see a lot more faces those days.”

When it comes to advertising, being next to the interstate exit has its perks. Both companies have a strong social media presence, though Creekside hasn’t really been promoting the World Games on its pages mainly because they’re busy focusing on Fourth of July celebrations before the games begin.

Pippert said he feels having such a rich and diverse community of local restaurants will attract people staying in Pelham and also the surrounding metro areas. With restaurants ranging from Creekside to Margarita Grill to Delta Blues, visitors will have a multitude of diverse food and beverage options to choose from, which would lead to more word-of-mouth advertising across the board.

Head brewer for OMBC Clay Baldwin said he’s particularly excited to show travelers from out of state and out of the country their menu of beer.

“We are looking forward to bringing our beer to a totally different audience than we typically serve,” Baldwin said. “There is a multitude of rich brewing traditions around the world, and it will be fascinating to see what people think of the beer and taproom experience we have to offer.”

“I think each one of us that are new businesses, we all have our own piece of the pie,” Pippert said. “You know, and we all offer a different experience. Like you have us for barbecue and Beer Hog is for your beer hangout spot and they offer a totally different experience than Half Shell Oyster House. People know what they want when they go out to eat and I think that will help us all since we stand out so much in this community.”