CLEVELAND – Many local businesses are celebrating the announcement that a site selection committee has chosen Cleveland as a host city for the 2016 Republican National Convention.
“I’m very excited they did choose Cleveland. It’s just gonna be phenomenal,” said Mark Charnigo from Campbell’s Sweets Factory on West 25th Street in Ohio City.
The announcement means thousands of people will come to town for the multi-day convention and millions of dollars will be spent in local businesses.
The city of Tampa, Florida, hosted the last GOP convention in 2012 and according to a post-convention study by the Tampa Bay Host Committee, the direct spending impact was an estimated $214 million.
“Anytime there’s big crowds that come in, I mean it totally, it helps us out,” said Charnigo. “We’re comfort food. Who wouldn't want to stop here?”
James Miner is in the hospitality business and, like many, he’s more than ready to open his doors to everyone. His Clifford House Bed and Breakfast is on West 28th Street in Cleveland.
“No matter whatever your political or social persuasions are, these people are coming here and spending lots and lots of money,” said Miner. He’s hoping the convention exposes new visitors to this revitalized city and region.
“A lot of people that come here, everyone discovers how cool Cleveland is. It really changes everyone’s mind - once they’re here they come back again or they send their friends or relatives here,” said Miner.
During the 2012 convention in Tampa, almost $18 million was direct spending on hotels and accommodations. Millions also poured into local restaurants which is good news, according to the Great Lakes Brewing Company on West 25th Street.
“We’ll make a good impression on some of the people coming into town and they’ll see how we’ve turned around, kind of an urban area and made it a new hot spot in the city,” said Marissa DeSantis from Great Lakes Brewing. “So hopefully they’ll venture outside of the convention - come visit us on the near west side and visit all the other great neighborhoods in Cleveland, too.”
Ohio Governor John Kasich said the convention will benefit a rejuvenated Cleveland while also showcasing the rest of the state.