Denver study bodes well for uptown biz

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Sheldon Schrieber says he's heard a lot of buzz about businesses lately - questions about whether they really will make a mint during the DNC.

"It something that's really surprising to me," Schrieber says. "The way I see it, and I'm a pretty common sense guy, there are going to thousands and thousands of people coming to Charlotte."

He is Harvest Moon Grille's director of business development, and he thinks the restaurant will be slammed.

"All those people, they need a pillow to lay their head on at night, they all have to eat and drink," he says.

And if you take a look at Denver's 2008 DNC numbers, Schreiber has every right to feel confident.

Four years ago, the average DNC visitor spent $98 per day on food and drink.  Combined, restaurants there made over 19 million dollars.  They spent $5 million on souvenirs, and downtown drugstores said their sales spiked fifty percent.

"I think we're primed for similar experiences here in Charlotte," says Dunhill Hotel General Manager Craig Spitzer.  He is certainly not worried about a mass exodus of uptown regulars.

"While we'd love to have our regulars in," Spitzer says, "and hope that they'll continue to stay uptown and patronize local businesses, there's going to be more than enough people here for the convention."

In Denver, the industry made a ton of cash. 12,500 visitors stayed in 8,300 rooms downtown. 15,500 stayed in hotels throughout the area.  The total impact on the hotel industry was $15.7 million.

And the impact on transportation was big, too. Combined, companies they made three and a half million bucks.

One taxi service reported a 42 percent increase.

In Charlotte, Serge Coulibily will try to do even better. "I'm expecting to make like 60 percent more," he says.

To view Denver's complete economic study, click on the link below.