Organizers say the All American Quarter Horse Congress brings $285 million to the central Ohio economy each year during the month of October.
That’s a bigger impact than the Ohio State Fair.
Rod’s Western Palace has been a part of the event since 1978. Their 20,000 square feet of retail space makes it one of the largest shops on the fairgrounds. They say they sell almost as much merchandise at their booth in a month as they do all year at their store.
“I always say it’s like having a second Christmas for a retailer. It’s really huge,” said Rod’s Western Palace owner Scott Hartle.
Hartle says the business is tremendous along with the economic impact of the Quarter Horse Congress.
“People come here, they stay here for a week, two weeks, sometimes a whole month. We bring some people in. Most of our people aren’t local and they’re staying in hotels, they’re eating in restaurants, they’re shopping here. It’s really a great thing for Columbus and the state and the county as well. So, it really is a big impact on the city,” said Hartle.
They gain business from around the world, as many stop by then continue to shop with Rod’s when they get back home. “We meet a lot of new customers here and then they become catalog shoppers and sometimes they’ll come to the store,” says Hartle. “We take the extra time with each customer to make sure the hat fits the customer, to their face and the shape of their head the size of their body. We do everything we can to make sure it’s just right for them and customize it.”
“There’s a lot of businesses here with a lot of merchandise that you can pick up and take home, whatever you need, right now, instead of shipping it and waiting for it to get to you. I think it’s fantastic,” said Cassandra Walker, who is visiting from Tennessee.
“It’s a great event for us and we know it’s a great event for the city as well. Welcome to The Congress,” said Hartle.
The Quarter Horse Congress happening now until October 28th at The Ohio State Fairgrounds.