Vendors say sales "slow," but would like to keep CIAA in Charl - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Vendors say sales "slow," but would like to keep CIAA in Charlotte

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

CIAA 2013 wrapped Saturday with the championship men and women's basketball game.

It's too early for the numbers to show how successful the event was this year, but based on some vendors, the event definitely won't go down as the best year on record.

Last year, the tournament brought in $50.5 million dollars overall in a seven day period. That was up 14% over 2011.

Vendors tell WBTV News they did a lot better last year because it was the 100th  anniversary.

Many of the vendors travel from out-of-town to these types of events and depend on the dollars they make for the trip to be worthwhile.

Vendor Casey Peoples traveled from Chesapeake, VA. She sales abstract and African American art. This is the 12th CIAA tournament she's attended as a vendor. "It's been very successful since it's been in Charlotte," Peoples said. But she notes sales were better last year.

Vendors, including Peoples wouldn't say exactly how much money they were or were not bringing in.

"I'm down about 50 percent I can tell you that much," Vendor Ben Dye of Ben's House of Music in Atlanta said.

"[Down] thirty-five percent, something like that," Vendor Virgil Waytes said.

"Slow" seemed to be the common word among many merchants.

"The day parties are killing us..the stadium hasn't been full all week," Dye said.

"I think that's what's taking away from the tournament now is the day parties, night parties and what the CIAA was designed for was the basketball," Waytes said.

Charlotte has to bid to keep the tournament next year. Vendors tell me Charlotte is the best host city in terms of convenience, hotels and travel. "It was much better in Raleigh from a audience standpoint because there wasn't a lot going on in the city so everybody convenes at the stadium," Dye said. "Get them back to basketball that's the main thing." The money Dye thinks will then follow. "This is my favorite event…my best event..except for this year," Dye said.

"This year increased in the fee for the space and along with declining sales..if we break even it'd be good because we spend the hotel fee coming down from VA. So we hope we can make something..it won't be as much but just a little something," Waytes said.

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