DNC in Charlotte: No economic bounce for most

You can bet there’s going to be plenty of talk about accounting, that arithmetic Bill Clinton mentioned so effectively during his tour-de-force, A-1 speech on Wednesday night, regarding any tangible financial benefits to the recent DNC in Charlotte. I work for a major southeastern retailer in Southpark, and Tuesday through Friday was close to an absolute desert for every salesperson I talked to. No problem conceding that bars and places directly around arena did landoffice business, but I doubt the Chamber of Commerce is going to paint any MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! face of Economic Success on the event.

Among customers I talked to there was an almost universal aversion about idea of attempting to go Uptown in Charlotte at all because it was known “14 blocks are pretty well locked down” from convention. Two brothers of mine in banking were instructed to work from home all week (one gladly spent time at VA mountains locale with fiber-optic connection), and knowing a majority of other daytime customers wouldn’t be around either, many eateries were operating in lowest mode. Cold hard fact: in August my two person department crushed our monthly sales goal by 36%, 52.7 to 38.7 ($1000s). Labor Day we both knocked out $1900 plus–and didn’t total that much in next four days through Saturday.

This is the microcosm of economics I and many, many others deal with, the precise effect any one event (or, very pointedly True, how many of them) or action affects us in a daily, personal-professional financial way. I’m not going to blame the President directly for my having a lousy week, even if ‘his’ event probably had a peripheral effect. I’m much more likely to be tough on LOCAL connections that apparently didn’t have both oars in the water, even with over a years lead time. Take it for what its worth, but one customer who said he’d volunteered for numerous roles, including being at Southpark area hotels and directing conventioneers to easily accessible venues, was stunned to learn every single one had been cancelled. He got two shirts out of it, but nothing about Charlotte as a city got promoted, not even other side of the street.

Bottom line, I appreciated the bigger idea of Charlotte as an epicenter of political universe. There is plenty of evidence that ‘Back to School’ sales were done (I’d wiped out a LOT of heavily discounted inventory) a week earlier, and everyone was going to be hanging out until a ‘not here just yet’ change in Charlotte weather. While sales figures on the lower edge of acceptable might cause management to be eeeeever so slightly less concerned about credit card applications vs. actual business, I won’t count on that myopic POV changing for long. I’m just going to strap it on for another week.

And honestly, I don’t blame the POTUS for the new merchandise not moving, even if the arithmetic in a small sampling is saying otherwise.

Glenn S.

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