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Downtown businesses underwhelmed by sales during RNC

5:51 PM, Aug 29, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida -- Some downtown businesses that were excited about the possibility of getting more customers during the convention now find themselves disappointed that sales have actually gone down. 

Other businesses, like the Original Grill Station on Franklin Street, have shut down altogether during the RNC. A sign on the door reads, "Gone Fishing."

Kevin Reyes, manager of Eddie & Sam's New York Pizza on E. Twiggs Street, says the pizza shop brought in more inventory and staff in preparation for the convention. But the only dough that seems to have risen this week is on the pies. 

"We have not gotten what we expected," he says. "It's hurt us. We're down probably 30 percent."

Reyes says regular, local lunchtime visitors haven't been coming this week since their offices are shut down, or they're trying to avoid traffic around the convention. However, Eddie & Sam's hasn't seen the amount of delegates and out-of-town visitors initially expected. 

It's a similar situation at Richard Moore's RNC souvenir shop on Franklin Street. Despite predictions about sales during the convention, his shelves are still full of political merchandise.

"We thought we would be sold out by now," he says. "We were really expecting more delegates and RNC-type people, but 90 percent of all the business is local. I think the way they have the route downtown barricaded is affecting the flow of traffic."

Moore will keep his shop open for two weeks following the convention, and he and others downtown are confident that traffic will soon lead back in their direction.

"I think it'll take about another week to pick back up," Reyes says.

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