Monday, September 10, 2012

Where Did all of Those RNC Bucks Go?

Now that the RNC is over and most of the clutter is cleared up we are starting to see local
merchants and businesses carp about how little business they did during the RNC. How the RNC revelers didn't patronize the local businesses like the RNC and local politicians said they would.

Alarmingly, and apparently surprisingly, the RNC folks did not drink as much, shop as much, or cavort as much as the local business folks expected.

Fearing the worst for South Pinellas County, I took a drive down the beaches on Wednesday of RNC week and was amazed at what I did not see. Hotel lots were empty. Right below the WELCOME RNC signs the Vacancy sign was on.

If you listened carefully to the convention, only Clearwater was mentioned as a delegate site. I did not hear St. Pete mentioned after the welcoming Party.

Even the famous "Gentleman's Club" on St. Pete Beach had the "WELCOME RNC" sign out along with an empty parking lot. This group of Republicans were truly a conservative lot.

More and more often these days, large events promoted by the Politicians as great money makers turn out to be duds for the local business owners. You may want to think about that before you make a major donation.

For many, the GOP Convention and St. Pete "RNC WELCOME PARTY" turned into a local business debacle. It should not have come as a big surprise, since many of the delegates who showed up for the welcome party were bussed in bussed out and had no way to get down to Beach Drive, the real heart and soul of St. Pete. The weather didn't help much either.

On the Saturday before the Convention started, I saw one downtown moderate sized bar with 5 beer trucks lined up outside unloading kegs of beer. Probably as much beer as they sell in a month or more. Wonder how that worked out?

Small business owners are not the only ones that may end up hoodwinked by the RNC Convention. Apparently there is a bill at St. Pete City Hall for over $500,000 that somebody, most likely the tax payers, will have to foot. I did note that the Mayor seemed to have a good time.

There is a message here. If you're a small business person you need to carefully evaluate any of these large scale events promoted by the County or City as a "big economic benefit". Look at where they are, when the events are scheduled, how attendees are transported, how they affect your customers access and the nature of the attendees.

Some local business people always benefit. But they are usually the ones who know the "right" people.

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