AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Akron officials began planning for Republican National Convention crowds as soon as Cleveland was named host.
For Gregg Mervis, head of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, hospitality is a priority. He said it's not so much about accommodating thousands as spillover, it's more about showcasing the town as a must-see destination.
"Making sure that they know what's going on in the area, where they can get a quality steak ... it's all about the build up to the experience," he said.
Officials are hoping the return will be comparable to, say, the Bridgestone Invitational, which brings in an estimated $20 million to Summit County. That would mean all 6,000 hotel rooms in the county would need to get booked, which is pretty much the case right now, officials told Cleveland 19 News.
Restaurateurs are hoping that turns into plenty of reservations.
"We have capabilities to do large parties and we're hopeful -- kind of just have everybody on call to be flexible that week, we're not sure what's going to happen," said Dave Glenny, owner of Bricco restaurant, which has been in the heart of Akron for 14 years.
From its big city look from one angle to a quaint town feel from another -- with some laid-back green space filling in along the way -- some might say the city of Akron is ready for RNC guests as is. That says a lot, according to the Downtown Akron Partnership president, Suzie Graham.
"I think as far as a roll Akron plays with respect to the RNC is we are the place to come to enjoy a Midwestern atmosphere," Graham said.
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