09/05/2012 11:03 am ET Updated Sep 05, 2012

Berhan Nebioglu, Charlotte Business Owner: DNC Is Destroying My Business

When Berhan Nebioglu first heard the Democratic National Convention was coming to town, she pictured an influx of tourists flooding her small jewelry shop in uptown Charlotte. But Nebioglu spent Tuesday, the first full day of the DNC, staring at an empty store.

Security outside the building that houses Nebioglu’s Jewelry & Gift Shop requires that people ask for the store by name to gain entrance during the convention, which is taking place less than a mile down the road. It’s destroying the possibility that passers-by will notice the business and make a purchase, says Nebioglu.

“I went to work today and sat there by myself -- not one customer,” Nebioglu tells The Huffington Post. “I cannot afford to lose a week’s worth of sales.”

While some small business owners in Charlotte expect to cash in on the roughly 35,000 visitors who have converged on the city for the four-day DNC, others fear that they’ve been left out in the cold.

Nebioglu said she didn’t find out until early last week that security at her building would be so tight. That was after she had spent $1,000 stocking up on extra merchandise to prepare for the convention. Add to that the average weekly sales Nebioglu expects to lose out on, and the DNC will leave her about $2,400 in the hole, she said.

Meanwhile, operators of local hotels, bars and restaurants expect to make windfall profits this week.

“I think the DNC is great for Charlotte and I’m so happy for the business owners who are getting a little break from the suffering,” Nebioglu said. “But I was looking for that little break, too.”

This isn’t the first time a major event has been a let-down for local businesses. During the Olympics in August, many merchants in the host-city London who expected a surge in business said security and congestion deterred shoppers, causing sales to sink.

Nebioglu may want to take a page out of one frustrated London entrepreneur’s book and get creative.



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