YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As the Republican National Convention begins early next week in Cleveland, a number of local small businesses are hoping to catch some of the economic ripple effects the event will produce.
Owners of FAB Limousine in Austintown have already started sending some of their buses, limos and SUVs to the Cleveland area to help ferry groups back and forth between convention venues and hotels.
“It’s been just really a blessing for us to get the spin-off from, you know, 60 miles away,” said owner Mark Bagnoli. “We were very fortunate to be one of the companies, I believe, from what I’m understanding, we’re about one of the only companies around this area that is working up in the Cleveland market for the convention.”
He says the calls started coming in about six months ago from out-of-town convention-goers who couldn’t find hotel space in Cleveland and are staying in the Valley.
“We have a variety of different clients, from different government officials all the way down to our local business people that are going.”
Meanwhile, workers with the Struthers-based Penn Ohio Security say they’ve landed a number of contracts to guard business offices in Cleveland while the convention is in town.
“To get something for a contract with an RNC vendor, I think is special because it’s not something you plan on. Just a small mom-and-pop company from Youngstown,” said owner Ken Cleevely.
Members of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber will also be in Cleveland next week, inviting over 100 local business leaders to an to mix and mingle with those attending the convention. Organizers say the RNC will attract a crowd similar in size to those that fill Browns Stadium for home football games.
“We’re talking about the presidents and CEOs of major corporations from around the world, and so we’re not talking about football fans anymore,” said Guy Coviello with the Regional Chamber. “We’re talking about some people that can make some serious decisions that can have an enormous impact on economic development.”
That impact could continue to effect the Valley for years to come, long after next week’s convention is over.