Charlotte businesses aim to ‘make the most’ of last year hosting CIAA

Updated: Feb. 25, 2020 at 4:33 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Every year, businesses across Charlotte look forward to crowds during the week of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament, better known as CIAA.

“It’s great exposure, really good business,” Raelynn Perry at Crown Station Coffee House & Pub says.

In 2018, the event made a $50.5 million economic impact on the city. In 2019, the event had a total economic impact of $43.7 million.

“It’s kind of like Christmas for us,” Perry says. “We depend on it, we love it, we rely on it, it’s a great event for us and we’re going to miss it dearly when it goes.”

Bars and restaurants like Crown Station will serve as venues for CIAA parties.

According to WBTV’s partners at The Charlotte Observer, over the last 14 years, the event has brought in $370 million in direct visitor spending. That includes the businesses that get visitors ready for those big events.

“They want to come and get fresh, get dappered up,” James Johnson at Clippers Barbershop says.

CIAA reps say each year, visitors go for “glam,” filling hair and nail salons, makeup studios, spas, and barber shops, even hiring stylists.

“Every year, business kind of goes up around then,” Johnson says.

All involved businesses are searching for what will replace CIAA income, as the event heads to Baltimore for the next few years.

“Hopefully, we’ll have something else big coming into town, and we can capitalize on that,” Johnson says.

A list of CIAA events can be found here.

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