Fri September 7, 2012
DNC Is Good For Some Uptown Businesses, Not So Good For Others
The Democratic National Convention was promised to be a boon for local businesses. This week convention goers have been spending money in local restaurants and stores. But some businesses have made out a lot better than others.
Harvest Moon Grille specializes in local food, but their clientele this week is mostly from far away. CBS Anchor Bob Schieffer is eating lunch here. The restaurant's chef and co-owner Cassie Parsons points to another table.
"He read about us in the London Times and he wanted to check us out," she says.
The restaurant received good reviews by national and international news outlets in the run up to the DNC. That's helped business, but Harvest Moon Grille has a few other things going for it. It's just a couple blocks from Time Warner Cable Arena where all the convention activity is. And then there are all the private parties they're catering alongside the restaurant business.
"From 7:00 in the morning to about 2:00 in the morning between all the events we have going on off premise and all the events on premise, it's been non-stop. It's been beautiful," says Parsons.
Across the street at Ri-Ra Irish Pub, business has come in spurts. Manager Ian McInnes expects convention week business will turn out to be about the same as any other week, since he's pretty much trading the office crowd for the convention crowd.
"We planned for it to be a lot busier and it just hasn't happened that way. Today normally we'd be packed to the gun holes for lunch. But you can see for yourself, it's 1/3rd full at best," says McInnes.
At the Latta Arcade on Tryon and Martin Luther King Blvd., a lot of business owners say they're just not doing the business they usually do. A couple shoe-shiners say they have to pay more for parking and don't get nearly the number of customers as usual.
All of the barber's at The Latta Arcade Men's Room knew business would be slow this week. So they all stayed home, except for Nerida Velasquez. She thought a sign advertising head rubs and shoulder rubs might bring in more business
"Yesterday, actually, we had two guys that came in because it attracted their attention. And then I had another gentleman the other day and he asked if I could rub his feet," says Velasquez.
She turned him down.
A few doors down at French Quarter, George Photopoulos was expecting a busy week. But it wasn't.
"We doubled the amount of liquor. We doubled the amount of staff and, thank God, we didn't open for breakfast and, thank God, we didn't open for late night," he says.
Earlier this week, he pinned his hopes on the crowds coming to see the President speak at Bank of America Stadium a couple blocks away. But instead the President is speaking at Time Warner and Photopoulos is expecting another quiet night.