Raleigh businesses may get big boost from teacher rally

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Raleigh businesses -- hotels, restaurants, retailers -- are doing the math of Wednesday's big event that organizers describe more as a revolution.

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"This is an uprising of folks who support public education," said NC Association of Educators President Mark Jewell. "We are two days away from what could be the biggest event and rally held in the Capital City."

The massive rally could be a big mid-week boost to businesses' bottom line. And it comes on what's already a busy week downtown: 900 people here for the Children's Museum convention, 350 here on Wednesday from the Divine Nine, another 350 here for an air-conditioning distributor conference, not to mention the 200 visitors for this week's college golf regional tournament.

It's a good week for downtown hotels.

"We're sold out both Tuesday night and Wednesday night," said Leon Cox, general manager at the Sheraton Raleigh.

Cox's staff is making special provisions for the influx of teachers.

"We're going to do something in the lobby - just in case of weather. If they want to come in and have a refreshment, we'll have some things set up in the lobby. Jimmy V's (Restaurant) is always open."

Here's how the teacher's rally stacks up compared to other large one-day downtown events:

  • On New Year's Eve, First Night Raleigh draws 50,000 people
  • 30,000 descend here for Brewgaloo

The teacher's rally may draw half that, if not more (15-20,000). Businesses are confident they're well-practiced for the potential rush.

"Those are the nights and days that we see this type of traffic," Cox said. So those are things that we're used to handling."
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