Small Business
June 21, 2023

Impact of Wells Fargo Championship goes beyond golf

Tournament highlighted by great golf and commitment to community.

A banner with photos of three people reads Nyla Sims, University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Kai Dawson, North Carolina A&T University; and Ahmad Raoul, Winston-Salem State University

The Wells Fargo Championship returned to Charlotte, North Carolina, in May. The championship generates significant financial support for local organizations and provides a boost in the Charlotte region, with an economic impact estimated to be around $75 million each year. Since 2003, more than $27 million in proceeds from the tournament have been donated to local and regional charities. Here are four key takeaways.

First Tee Future Entrepreneurs Program participants ‘on cloud nine’

For Nyla Sims, Ahmad Raoul, and Kai Dawson, joining First Tee was as much about building life skills and tools as safely hitting greens and steadying their putting strokes.

The program, founded in 1997 by a host of organizations within the golf community, teaches healthy habits like perseverance and confidence while making golf accessible to children of all backgrounds across the United States.

Sims, Raoul, and Dawson were chosen from a deep field of applicants to participate in the second annual First Tee Future Entrepreneurs Program, sponsored by Wells Fargo and First Tee.

The participants took part in the Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am. They were paired with four-time major champion Rory McIlroy on the first nine holes, and PGA TOUR pro Alex Smalley, a Duke University graduate, on the back nine.

“Having us connect with PGA pros, like tour players, this was unbelievable,” Sims said after the Pro-Am. “I feel like I’m on cloud nine.”

During the week, they participated in a First Tee clinic and networked with Wells Fargo employees and customers, as well as influencers and golfers.

Sims is a senior at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Raoul is a freshman at Winston-Salem State University, and Dawson is a graduate student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University.

“In all honesty, without First Tee, I would not be who I am today, where I am today,” Raoul said. “Every blessing, every core value that I had to memorize, every healthy habit I had to memorize … is all worth it now.”

U.S. Army veteran wounded in Iraq receives donated vehicle

In 2001, Benjamin Breckheimer joined the U.S. Army Reserves as an Operating Room Specialist.

A group of people pose behind a banner
Military veteran Benjamin Breckheimer received a payment-free 2022 Ford Escape from Military Warriors Support Foundation’s Transportation4Heroes program. Breckheimer was joined by Wells Fargo Vice Chairman of Public Affairs Bill Daley.

Over the next 12 years, he served in various roles, including a year-long deployment in Baghdad, Iraq.

In 2009, as a Calvary Scout out of Fort Lewis, Washington, Breckheimer sustained significant injuries from an improvised explosive device, which nearly cost him his right leg.

He remained in the Army for another four years before medically retiring and receiving the Purple Heart, awarded to military members who are injured or killed in combat to acknowledge their physical sacrifice in service of the nation.

Wells Fargo donated a 2022 Ford Escape from Mark Ficken Ford Lincoln through the Military Warriors Support Foundation's Transportation4Heroes program to Breckheimer at a special event held during this year’s tournament. Breckheimer and his wife own and run a mobile coffee truck, Avalanche Coffee Company, in Tega Cay, South Carolina.

“The very first day we were in business, our personal vehicle was involved in a hit-and-run,” Breckheimer said. “It (the Ford Escape) relieves that financial burden of a monthly car payment so we can help build up our personal saving account to hopefully open up our own brick-and-mortar shop.”

Small Business Market showcases nine local businesses

Wells Fargo welcomed crowds to the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club. And it once again hosted a Small Business Market, featuring nine companies based in the Carolinas.

The businesses highlighted were:

Three people pose for a photo in a golf shop.
A person poses for a picture inside a coffee shop.
Two people stand behind the counter at a clothing store.
A person stands inside a restaurant.
A person poses in front of a pop-up Prosecco tap truck.
A person poses in front of a bakery
Two people poses inside a golf shop.
A person poses inside a store
Two people pose inside a shop.
A group of people cut a ribbon in front of the Wells Fargo Small Business Market.

With a mission to bridge the gap between modern fashion performance while playing homage to the sophistication and style of their matriarchs’ wardrobes, Rachelle Wates and Hayden Shoffner founded Byrdie Golf Social Wear.

Knowledge Perk Coffee Company is a small-batch roastery with a mission to transform the way customers experience coffee and the global community that provides it.

Brother and sister duo, Dion and Davita Galloway, successfully married art and entrepreneurship through real life application of talent, interest, and skill for the culture through their company DUPP&SWAT.

A Latin-owned restaurant, El Toro Bruto, was once a taco pop-up that now calls the popular South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina, home.

The Vintage Goat is a customizable Prosecco tap truck — the first in Charlotte, North Carolina — that transforms into a party venue for special events.

Manolo Betancur, owner of Manolo’s Latin Bakery, called being featured in the Small Business Market a “dream come true.”

Stitch Golf, a luxury golf brand dedicated to hand crafted, high end products, was founded in Cary, North Carolina in 2012.

Founded by Kevin Conway and Josh Inglis, PHOOZY empowers technology users to pursue their passions and epic outdoor adventures without worry of environmental limitations.

Bear Food Gourmet Food Shop in Matthews, North Carolina, is a gourmet peanut company with distribution to more than 250 stores nationwide.

Wells Fargo is committed to building an inclusive, sustainable future for all through a focus on opening pathways to economic advancement. Through its Open for Business fund, it’s donating roughly $420 million to help small businesses stay open.

A person with a microphone stands in the center of a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Manolo Betancur (center), owner of Manolo’s Latin Bakery, speaks to a group at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Manolo Betancur, owner of Manolo’s Latin Bakery and Artisen Gelato, said being featured in the market was a “dream come true.”

“Wells Fargo is giving light to those who society often places in the shadows,” he said. “Wells Fargo is letting us know that we are not alone, and that they care about us.”

“Wells Fargo has been super supportive,” said Jordan Herring, COO and co-owner of Knowledge Perk. “Just giving us the platform to sell coffee here to be in the small business (market) has really opened up opportunities for us to get in front of a lot of clients and a lot of customers that we wouldn't have just being in Rock Hill.”

Championship week concludes with first-time PGA TOUR winner

Wyndham Clark, a native of Denver, shot 19-under-par en route to a four-stroke victory at this year’s Wells Fargo Championship — his first win as a professional.

“I’ve dreamed about this since I was probably six years old,” Clark said. “Since I’ve been on the PGA TOUR, you fantasize about it all the time … and to do it at this golf course, against this competition, is better than I could ever have imagined.”

His victory closed out a week with an estimated 200,000 fans in attendance at Quail Hollow. The championship, however, isn’t possible without the work of hundreds of employees and volunteers.

A group of people pose with the Wells Fargo Championship trophy.
Spectators gather outside the Customer Lounge presented by Wells Fargo Credit Cards tent.
Four golfers pose on a golf course
A golfer smiles as a child waves at him on a golf course.
Two people pose for a photo at the Quail Hollow Club.
A golfer walks off the course.
A large group of kids and adults pose on a golf course.
People are scattered about a golf course with a Wells Fargo Championship sign in the foreground.
Several people stand around a golf challenge game.
A person holds a trophy
During the tournament, fans pose with the Wells Fargo Championship Trophy.

The Wells Fargo customer lounge provided prime viewing opportunities and unique amenities in a top-notch hospitality space for any Wells Fargo customers in attendance.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy participated in the Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am by playing nine holes with this year’s First Tee participants — Nyla Sims, Ahmad Raoul, and Kai Dawson.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy says hello to a five-year-old fan. McIlroy participated in the Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am by playing nine holes with this year’s First Tee participants.
An estimated 200,000 fans attended this year’s championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Max Homa, one of two players to win the Wells Fargo Championship multiple times (McIlroy), finished in a tie for eighth place this week after shooting nine-under-par.
Wells Fargo hosted a clinic with PGA TOUR professionals for 200 First Tee participants. It also granted sponsor exemptions to Marcus Byrd and Quinn Riley, First Tee alums playing on the Advocates Professional Golf Association tour.
Forty-six players scored under par at this year’s Wells Fargo Championship, finishing their rounds at the 18th hole at Quail Hollow.

Teach for America, CMS Foundation, and First Tee – Greater Charlotte, competed at the Wells Fargo Championship short-game challenge.

Wyndham Clark, a native of Denver, shot 19-under-par en route to a four-stroke victory at this year’s Wells Fargo championship — his first win as a professional.