TAMPA - The chocolatiers at Qachbal baked up shelves full of confections for the anticipated crowd. By day two, manager Crystal Fiore's anticipation gave way to costly disappointment. And now all those extra edibles are going in the garbage.
The convention cut Channelside into a tale of the have and have nots.
Splittsville bowling alley managed to book several private parties, including one for a crowd from DC. Management credited a year's worth of networking for landing the lucrative deals.
But upstairs at Thai Thani, we found empty tables and bored servers.
Frustrated Channelside and downtown shopkeepers and restaurateurs complain their losses were magnified by the fact the RNC scared away their regulars, something Mayor Bob Buckhorn acknowledged in a press briefing Wednesday.
So now, after a dismal start, several businesses say they have no choice but to send home the extra staff and scale back hours of operation.