Convention crowds may have been a no-show for the most part downtown at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, but they're already out in force for Charlotte's Democratic National Convention, which officially kicks off Tuesday.
A walk around the rain-soaked restaurants near Charlotte Convention Center on Monday found steady lines of people spending money.
"I'm happy so far," said Bob Morrison, owner of the "The Sandwich Club," a takeout food shop which opened in 1996. "I'm just hoping it stays like this."
"Today was great," said Marlys Sielsky, chief hospitality officer for Matt's Chicago Dog. "It exceeded expectations."
In Tampa, business owners lamented last week that, "We åwere told this would be our Christmas. Instead we have food rotting."
But peeks into indepedently-owned restaurants around Charlotte's convention center found that most were doing brisk business: The gastro-pub Mortimer's had a full bar and plenty of diners at 4:30, and Vapiano, a trendy Italian restaurant, was mostly full at 5:15. Chain restaurants, of which there are many around the convention center, were also doing well.
Throughout the day, showers and even sheets of rain raked across Uptown Charlotte, but conventiongoers by and large seemed happy to seek shelter until the rain passed. After that, they continued going into businesses.