Small business has been a major theme both inside and outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum this week.
With events tied to the 2012 Republican National Convention taking place in all parts of the Tampa Bay area, many local business owners prepared to have the biggest money making week of their year.
At the beginning of the convention, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the 2012 Tampa Host Committee projected a $150 – 175 million boost to Tampa’s economy because of the 2012 RNC.
"The way the City (of Tampa) and the Downtown Partnership put it out, we'd have 50,000 visitors and we'd be swamped," said Marc Zolkowski earlier this week. Zolkowski is the co-owner of the Metro Lounge and Restaurant in downtown Tampa. His neighboring business owner, Eftechios Xanthoudakis, said he expected to conduct five times as much business at his Samaria Café than he would during a typical week.
Entrepreneur.com reports that small business owners in Charlotte, North Carolina hold similar expectations for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which takes place in that city next week.
However, for many Tampa area businesses, the 2012 RNC has been a disappointment with traffic, crowds and weather keeping both visitors and locals away.
Inside the Forum, the topic of small business took center stage first with a short speech on Tuesday by Phil Archuleta, a small business owner from New Mexico, followed by Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s speech on Wednesday in which he responded to President Obama’s controversial comments last month in Roanoke, Virginia about the amount of credit entrepreneurs deserve for the development of their business.
In that speech, President Obama implied that all successful business owners received outside support at some point in time. “There was a great teacher somewhere in your life,” he began.
The controversy stemmed from his subsequent statements about the role government plays in building small businesses. “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive,” the President said. “Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Ryan responded to that statement during Wednesday’s RNC session.
“If small business people say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else worked seven days a week in their place,” he said to the crowd of GOP delegates and media. He closed with the statement, “Yes, you did build that.”
What do Tampa area small business owners think of the RNC’s impact on the community and of Obama’s and Ryan’s statements regarding entrepreneurs? Tell us in the comments.
Both BarackObama.com and MittRomney.com have quotes addressing small business owners prominently displayed on site, and small business owners have organized Facebook groups in support of each candidate:
Manta, an online community for small business owners, released poll results last week from a survey of nearly 2,000 small business owners stating that sixty-one percent currently plan to vote for Mitt Romney in the upcoming presidential election.
The 2012 RNC wraps up Thursday night, and the 2012 DNC kicks off in Charlotte Tuesday after a long Labor Day weekend. That will be the next place to watch for platform statements affecting America’s Main Street.
Round-Up of Small Business Stories During the RNC in Tampa:
- Local Business Hopes to Cash in on RNC
- RNC’s Impact on Downtown Business Light So Far
- Coffee Shop’s Business Brisk as RNC Gets Going
- Downtown Restaurants Don’t See increase in Business
- Lack of RNC Crowd Leaves Business Owners Upset
- South Tampa Instructor Bringing Yoga to RNC Visitors
- Mayor Bob Buckhorn: Downtown Business Owners Could Sink or Swim During RNC
- While Some Businesses Suffer During RNC, Hattricks Scores
- Buddy Brew Brings Local Flavor to RNC
- At Least One Business Benefitting from RNC – A Pub Near the Forum (TBO)
- RNC No Boon to Some Downtown Businesses (TBO)
- Tampa Bay Partnership Creates Biz Buzz with Web Show from RNC (TampaBay.com)
- RNC Slows, Complicates Business in Downtown Tampa (TampaBay.com)
- Small Business a Common Theme at Republican National Convention (WashingtonPost.com)