Convention goers like Raleigh

September 10, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
The first convention at the new Raleigh Convention Center began Thursday night and people from across the country got a first-hand look at the new facility. About 1,600 members of the NAA, an insurance agent alliance, are the first out-of-town visitors.

Eyewitness News asked a few attendees how they liked it and perhaps more importantly how they liked downtown Raleigh.

Misty Thebeau stated, "It's beautiful, and it's a lot larger than anything we've had before."

Greg Watkins commented, "It looks great, it really looks great."

The NAA is based in Burlington, NC however agents flew in from Texas, California, Maine and all over the country.

Thebeau continued, "We've had it in Dallas and Atlanta in the past, Raleigh's a great town, why wouldn't we have it here."

Watkins offered, "There's a lot to do, I mean it's not Charlotte, but, it could be."

Another group toured the center today as they're having a convention in a couple of weeks with local attendees.

Brenda Dobrick, an event planner, stated, "There is enough to do, yeah, and I'm seeing more and more come down here."

Downtown business owners echo Brenda's sentiment as well.

Sam and Wally's restaurant is just across the street from the convention center and its owner is adding a bar, extending hours and hoping to see sales double.

Sam Yehia, the restaurant owner, offered, "I'm just so relieved that it's happening and it's exciting to see how much affect it's gonna have on us and the Raleigh area."

Eyewitness news did some checking on this "first" convention and apparently the NAA had its fee waived for renting the convention center however, the group is having all its meals inside the center, which will produce revenue for the city.

Additionally, the NAA has also booked another convention at the facility in January. It's estimated this weekend's convention will have an economic impact of more than a million dollars.


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