MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Call it the Bass Pro effect. The opening of the Bass Pro mega-store in the Pyramid is nearly a year away, but the impact of the project is already here.
Bass Pro is expected to draw so many people that a lot of local business owners are expecting more money in their cash registers.
"It shall be good; having an empty Pyramid is not good," said Jake Schorr, co-owner of Westy's, a restaurant that sits in the shadows of the Pyramid.
A spokesman for Bass Pro declined to comment on any forecast the company has for its Memphis store. He did say Bass Pro stores average around 3 million customers a year.
"A rising tide lifts all boats, we feel like it is going to be good for everyone," said Kevin Kane, President and CEO of the Memphis Visitors & Convention Bureau.
"I think it is going to have a tremendous impact, we are talking millions of new visitors, probably visiting that store," he added.
It isn't just in Memphis. Twenty miles away in Marion, Ark., business development is picking up, in-part tied to the Bass Pro opening.
Developers want to build a 45,000 square-foot convention center, hotel, and movie theater complex.
"They are talking about how many more jobs it would bring in, that would help our city grow I'm sure," said Loretta Tacker, co-owner of Big John's Shake Shack.
Developers are asking Marion to help pay for the convention center by increasing the city's so-called "hamburger tax" on restaurants and hotels.
Tacker, while excited by the new business potential, worries about what a tax would mean at her restaurant.
"We will just have to wait and see how it goes," she said.
Bass Pro says its mega-store in the Pyramid is slated to open in late 2013.