Tower City businesses take a hit during RNC

Downtown+Clevelands+Tower+City+Mall+on+Wednesday%2C+July+20%2C+2016.

Downtown Cleveland’s Tower City Mall on Wednesday, July 20, 2016.

Stephen Means

This year’s Republican National Convention has brought a lot of media exposure to downtown Cleveland.

However, not every aspect of the city has had a positive outcome: A number of local businesses have suffered from the event’s presence.

Businesses inside the downtown mall of Tower City have seen a decline in customers over the past three days as a result of the lockdown placed on the most of the building by security.

“It’s actually been really slow,” said Ryan Sarkis, an employee The Gourmet Popper. “Much slower than business usually has been because a lot of people are refraining from coming downtown.”

Many of the mall’s entrances have been closed off to the public for convention participants staying in the adjoining hotels, as well as those working in businesses at the top level.

Mall employees have outnumbered shoppers in the past few days, one security guard said, with the only consistent number of visitors located by the food court.

However, while most stores have chosen to close entirely, others—like Susy’s Soup and Deli—feel it is important to stay open for their “regulars.”

“We’re doing maybe a third of the business that we normally do,” said David Long, an employee at Susy’s Soup and Deli. “We thought about (closing), but we have to be here. Some of our regular guest (have come in so we) try to stay consistent with being open and we try to follow those so people can count on us to be here.”

Other employees within Tower City, like Purnima Luhar from Creative Tees, believe that it’s always good to look at the positive side of things.

Luhar’s T-shirt shop has still seen a number of customers this week, even though it’s nowhere near the amount the store has grown used to seeing on a daily basis.

In her mind, though, little business is better than no business.

“It’s been very slow,” Luhar said. “I thought about closing, but I thought that if I stay here I make a couple of bucks.”

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