For the last 13-years Marianna businesses have enjoyed a big springtime economic boost from the Florida junior college state basketball tournament.
This year, Chipola College is again hosting the event.
The Chipola Appreciation Club says the tournament will be especially important this year, when the country is in the midst of a recession.
It's no secret we're facing a tough economy and each day brings more challenges for small businesses.
It's been very slow but considering America’s economic situation, I guess it's across the board.
But Country Inn & Suites General Manager Jerry Jones says they managed to stay busy last weekend because of.
Hotel Manager Jerry Jones says, “A Chipola baseball game. They actually hosted about six games from all over the United States and we actually hosted a team from Houston, Texas.”
Marianna business owners understand how important and profitable Chipola athletics are to this community.
Especially next month, when the men's and women's state junior college and if last year's tournament is any indicator, this year's event will make business owners happy.
With the amount of money the Coaches, Athletic Directors spent in Marianna, they spent this last year, between $100-$125,000. If you took an economic value of six times that, eight times which as it rolls over, it is a huge impact whether it's lodging, restaurant, food, medicine and the list goes on.
About 400 basketball players from 16 teams will participate in the junior college tournament.
Officials estimate more than 2,000 people will occupy approximately 200 hotel rooms along the interstate.
Volunteers will host each of the teams during their stays.
Women's Basketball Coach David Lane says, “I think it's great because it gives Marianna a chance to show off and Jackson County as well to be able to put on a tournament like this with volunteers is just tremendous.”
Officials estimate the guest will spend a total of $250,000 during the four-day event.
Jones says he hopes the Country Inn & Suites will get a piece of the action.
Yeah, I'm hoping we'll get a good boost because we actually really need it this off season.
The women's tournament will start on Wednesday, March 4.
Advance tickets are now on sale.
For more information, visit the college's website and click here.