By CLAUDIA MUFASA
CLEVELAND (Talk Media News) – The numbers are not in yet, but Cleveland’s hope of generating up to $400 million from the thousands who attended the Republican National Convention might not happen, according to at least one study.
“While hotels, bars, and restaurants may do well during the convention, other retailers and service providers may not benefit from the event and potentially lose sales,” according to the College of Holly Cross study called “Rejecting Conventional Wisdom.”
“For local shopkeepers economic impact is likely to be small,” said economist Robert Baade, who is one of the authors of the study. The study contradicts officials’ predictions of seeing up to $400 million in revenue for the city.
The RNC might deter locals from visiting altogether, he said. “Many people will avoid Cleveland because they don’t want to deal with a crowd or share public spaces, like sideways and the road,” he said.
Some local business owners nearest to the Quicken Loans Arena said they saw a decline in business during the week even though the city boasted 12,000 convention-related events.
Brad Wiescinski, 34, co-owner Pizza (216) was hoping to see a boost in sales but so far that hasn’t been the case. Touting the pizzeria’s great location, he described its atmosphere as “condensed all day” rather than simply “steady after lunch” as usual. Still, he noted that “the weekend was slower than anticipated.”
Steps away from the RNC, Laura Kubinski, 35, owns CLE Clothing. Media stations rented street space surrounding the locally-owned store but the foot traffic often just kept walking by instead of stepping into her store.
Noting the large crowds just outside her store, she said, “I think most of them are just on track to the convention.” CLE Clothing is one of few establishments to remain open on restaurant row. Many others have been rented out by media outlets, such as Twitter and The Washington Post.
On the same block, Von Thai, 61, owns a restaurant he estimates to be one of only two open on East 4th Street. Thai emigrated to Cleveland from Vietnam and hoped his Saigon Restaurant and Bar would be hopping. When asked if he experienced an increase in sales, he replied, “Not yet – we are usually very crowded for lunch, but not yet.”