TAMPA - A mixed bag may best describe the business impact in Tampa from the Republican National Convention. For many businesses, their success this week depended on location, their service, and maybe even some luck.
Toffee To Go is one of the businesses checking the win column this week. When we spoke with the small business before the convention, their expectations were high.
Looking back, Kelly Flannery has no complaints.
"For us as a business we got great national exposure that we wouldn't normally have," she said.
Not only did Toffee To Go get occasional visitors stop in for a snack, but they also made a big splash with the hospitality industry trying to wow their guests and delegates.
"A lot of hotels used us for amenities, a lot of event planners used us as favors for their parties, so it was a great August for us."
Flannery says business is up about 15 percent over last year.
We found that the businesses who had pre-planned contracts to do some sort of work for the convention had the most success this week. Restaurants that rented out their facilities scored big.
Unfortunately for many businesses downtown, the experience was much different.
"Disappointment," said Ian Brooks, Manager of Gilligan's, just down the road from the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
He and his staff did a lot of preparing for this week, thinking they would be packed with thousands of protestors, delegates, and journalists.
"We probably spent about 12 to 14,000 dollars in renovations just to make the place nicer," he said.
All that time and money went into work that almost nobody saw. Brooks said they didn't even get their normal lunch crowd this week because customers would have been hassled to find a parking spot.
The emotions of many of the downtown business owners have gone from disappointment to even angry. On Friday, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said he had warned them.
"We told them not to set their expectations particularly high, because we knew the reality of what we were going to be faced with," he said.
Some restaurants downtown tell us they plan to ask the city to reimburse them for some of their lost revenue.
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Ahmed Mohamed, a 15-year old, will graduate from the Fine Arts Magnet program at Blake High School in Tampa in two weeks. He plans on enrolling in the USF medical program this fall.