TAMPA, FL (WIS) - With more than 50,000 people in Tampa this week for the Republican National Convention, expectations of an economic boon were high.
That may be the case for hotels around Tampa, but many businesses in the heart of the action had to tough it out.
"Slow," said hot dog vendor Cesar Ramos. "But it's okay. Next week is going to be better."
Ramos says it's a little ironic. Tampa's population exploded this week, but his sales are down by more than half.
He hasn't done anything differently, except law enforcement moved him a block over and barricaded his usual spot.
"Before the convention, everybody had a lot of expectations," said Ramos. "Everybody said 'You're going to have a good sale. Everybody's going to stop to buy a hot dog, you're going to be busy. You need to hire people.'"
So, Ramos stocked up. Now he's stuck with hundreds of frozen dogs and trying to find a way to get rid of them.
"It's not what I expected," he said.
Ramos isn't alone. Several businesses around the RNC adjusted business hours. Some just took the week off.
Every government building is fenced off and the thousands of workers inside them have moved out of Tampa for the week.
The problem: street closures downtown and security checkpoints made doing business with regular customers nearly impossible.
But Tampa cigar vendor Dr. AJ Mouser is making it work.
"The typical regulars that come by, the attorneys, the bankers, the local business people --most of them didn't come to work this week," he said. "In fact, the protection guys have been my biggest customers."
"They're super people and that's the neatest thing," said Mouser. "You know, we're welcoming people to Tampa, which we hope Charlotte does and no trouble whatsoever."
But business owners like Cesar Ramos know it's only a matter of hours before life gets back to normal.
"It's okay," he said. "Next week is going to be better."
Thursday is the last day of the RNC. Thursday night Mitt Romney accepts his party's presidential nomination.
The Democratic National Convention is in Charlotte next week.
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