The verdict is in from one St. Paul shopowner on the alleged economic benefit of the Republican National Convention: Fail!

Theoretically, Bonnie Andert’s Blink Bonnie Subs should be doing a booming business; it’s located right next to the Xcel Energy Center, where the convention is being held. Nobody can see her business because of the big CNN bus parked in the way…


And even if you knew it was there, the security barriers require a person to walk one block west…


… cross the street, and then one block east.


Few are bothering to do it this week. Andert had hoped the week would help her business get out of debt, but it’s only getting worse.

Few customers are even walking half a block.Today at noon, Cosetta’s — one of the most popular lunch-time spots in the city — sent people to the street trying to lure over-tanned CNN celebs (and anyone else with cash) to come in.


Other than the Eagle St. Grille, which cashed in with the CNN location, at least one business has benefited. A medical supply business on the block rented its space out for the week. The combination oil painting – caramel corn – goofy Republican hat shop that went for the deal does not appear to be doing well.

The convention was sold to St. Paulites as a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Some businesses are hoping that’s true.

  • MR

    I was down at Mancini’s last night, and they’ve been down quite a lot too. It was full last night, but that was for a local (DFL) fundraiser. There were 2 delegates in the place, the rest was local traffic.

    I wonder if businesses in Minneapolis and Bloomington (where most of the delegates are staying) are seeing any business increases.

  • Guess they really take that “fiscal conservatism” thing to heart.

    C’mon guys, spread the love!

  • Joel

    Downtown Mpls seems to be fairing much better from what I’ve heard, aside from the hotels. I was down there yesterday setting up some video equipment for a private GOP party in one of the more up scale restaurants/bars. Employees there told me they’ve been booked for every night during the convention.

    However, I work in the audio/video world of event staging, and I can tell you business for my market has been slow. It seems the RNC is, for the most part, either bringing in outside crews for their larger events or are demanding cutthroat prices.

  • My experience with the convention as a St. Paulite: On the first day I heard a lot of helicopters and at a Roseville coffeeshop a loud delegate narrating every painful detail of his day (“and then I had breakfast at Bruegers. . .”). This does seem to be a bust.

    From what I’ve seen, the glass replacement people might be making a little extra.

  • Alison

    Doesn’t this go right along with your ‘How they see us’ posting? If they are only seeing us out bus windows, they also eating at pre-planned stops and catered parties. Great if you’re a caterer or a hall, bad if you’re not.

    What is really telling are the license plates. Even with all of the out-of-towners, the license plates are still all MN and a few WI. And it’s not like the delegates are hopping on our outstanding metro-wide transit system to see the sites without their groups.

  • Heather

    So much for trickle-down…

  • Bob Collins

    From the looks of things the places that are doing well are the places that rented out to private parties. Most of those are in Minneapolis.

    The convention, it seems, has become a case of “St. Paul does the dirty work, Minneapolis gets the money.”

    This convention was supposed to elevate St. Paul in its rivalry with its sibling, but in the end, it would appear, St. Paul businesses, police, and residents have made almost all of the sacrifices and Minneapolis has reaped whatever windfall there is to reap.

    So I guess it comes down to “what is the total benefit of having the name St. Paul blared on national TV?” and does it add up to more than the obvious — and not so obvious — costs the city is enduring?