The streets of downtown Tampa showed signs of life for the first time since the opening of the Republican National Convention this morning, but more than just protesters, police, press and politicians are taking advantage of the event.
Companies looking to make a name for themselves have taken to the streets in an attempt to attract attention to their brand. Whether that attention comes from delegates or the general public, it really doesn't matter.
"Yesterday being cancelled wasn't good for us but we'll make up for it over the next few days," Peter Soto, Tour Manager for Biotechnology Industry Organization said. "We're going to Charlotte right after this but so far this has been a great experience. We've been doing some fun things in Ybor City and there are a lot of us on the street so we're attracting plenty of attention."
At first glance, BIO is an obscure company that leaves one wondering what exactly it is that they do. For Soto, the street interactions are a chance to pass out some free water and nutrient bars, socialize and educate people about the world’s largest biotechnology trade association.
The same can be said for Humana, a growing health insurance company that is bringing its philosophy of health and wellness to the street through dispensing fruit, water and biometric screenings through a program called "Freewheelin".
Mitch Lubitz, media relations manager for Humana in the Tampa Bay market, was sad to see yesterday's festivities cancelled, but believes that Humana will leave behind a good legacy through a special gift to the City of Tampa.
"After the event, we are giving five of these pedal buses to the Tampa Downtown Partnership to use however they want," Lubitz said. "We want to leave behind some sort of legacy where people will get some sort of benefit for the long term. The partnership is already looking at using them on the Riverwalk."
Freewheelin will also make its way to the Democratic National Convention to see if they can cover more distance than the RNC.
"People had a great time on Sunday with it and then the weather hit," Public Relations manager Kevin Lamb said. "We'll have the pedal buses open to everyone from 10-7 p.m. through Thursday and we're looking forward to people's reaction."