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Business

More than 100 local businesses cater to U.S. Open fans

Kent Seelig, a lifelong golfer who boasts a nifty 11 handicap, will be heavily involved with golf next week. But it will be all for business - some of the biggest business his meat-distribution company has done in its 63-year history. Farmingdale Meat Market Inc. will be supplying the U.S. Open in Bethpage with 18,000 pounds of deli products, including corned beef, pastrami, turkey and roast beef. It will also provide 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of hamburger meat and 1,000 to 2,000 pounds of filet mignon. Seelig figures his company's revenue will come to between $125,000 to $175,000 for the week. That would be in addition to his regular weekly sales. "It's a huge event for us," Seelig, 62, said. His company will provide meats and deli products to Carlyle on the Green - the main meeting and eating spot at the Open - and also to Prom Management Group, a Minnesota caterer that will serve refreshment stands at Bethpage. Seelig's business is one of more than a hundred on Long Island that will be supplying food, beverages, wine, transportation, candy and snacks and hospitality to players, VIPs, celebrities and just plain golf enthusiasts. Just about everything will be from Long Island - the wines, lettuce, mustard, bagels, potato chips, chocolates and dry fruits. That's the way Ridgewells, the giant caterer that will be servicing the 45 corporate tents, wants things. "Although we're based in Washington, D.C., we hire local vendors," said Susan Lacz, Ridgewells' chief executive. The caterer has hired about 500 people - some 95 percent of them Long Islanders - as chefs, waiters, bar tenders and dishwashers, Lacz said. Steve Carl, owner of Carlyle on the Green and host of the event, said six large rooms will be open at the clubhouse for dining. "We expect to serve over 65,000 meals" that week, he said. J. Kings Food Service Professionals of Holtsville, one of the country's largest distributors, will be shipping to Ridgewells the produce of 50 to 60 Island businesses, said chief executive John King. He said he expects to do between $500,000 to $1 million in business during the week. Bagels will be supplied by Bagel Boss of Hicksville. "We'll be making hundreds of dozens," said store general manager Scott Perskin. The Open's "official potato chips" will be supplied by Martin Sidor Farms Inc. in Mattituck. Farm co-owner Carol Sidor said 7,300 bags of chips are on their way. "It's a very nice deal," she said. Steve Gold, an owner of Gold's Pure Food Products Co. in Hempstead, said the company has shipped 2,600 pounds of mustard. "That's a lot of mustard," Gold said. The "official wine" will come from Bridge Vineyards of Mattituck. "It's good publicity for us and a nice shot in the arm for sales," said winery co-owner Greg Sandor. Top of the World Limo in Kings Park has some cars booked for the Open, said owner Craig Mehlsack. But the recession and new state taxes limo companies must charge have cut into business, he said. "It's [the Open bookings] nothing crazy," said Mehlsack. Lettuce will come from Schmitt's Farm in Riverhead. Owner Phil Schmitt said, "Every little bit helps." B.K. Sweeney's Parkside Tavern in Bethpage is taking on extra waiters, hostesses and bartenders for the Open, said manager Kathy Young.

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