Local small businesses hope Final Four matchup, Dreamville Music Festival draw big crowds

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The highly-anticipated NCAA men's basketball Final Four matchup between Duke and UNC is on Saturday, and local businesses are calling it a blessing.

Small businesses like Indio, a gift shop in downtown Durham's BrightLeaf Square, are hoping to cash in.

"You can feel it in town. Everyone is on pins and needles," said Wendy Sease, the owner.

This weekend will be a much-needed economic boost to Brighleaf Square: Next month marks three years since the deadly gas explosion, which devastated businesses.

Sease, a UNC-Chapel Hill alum, said she hopes foot traffic from area bars will flow right into her shop. She expects Friday and early Saturday to be busy before people settle down to watch the rivals play.

"We're not going to do too much different, but we're just going to be prepared mentally just in case there is a lot of people in the store," she said.

In Raleigh, the Dreamville Music Festival at Dix Park, from Fayetteville's own J. Cole, is expected to draw massive numbers. This year's lineup includes performances by J. Cole himself, along with Lil Wayne, T-Pain, Kehlani, Lil Baby and more.

More than 40,000 people, many from out of town, attended in 2019, generating $3.9 million to Raleigh's economy, according to Visit Raleigh.

This year could see more sizeable crowds. The general manager of Raleigh's Downtown Sheraton told ABC11 that the hotel has sold out this weekend.

At House of Swank Clothing on Hargett Street, co-owner John Pugh made extra T-shirts, just in case.

"We are cautiously optimistic and welcome everyone to come downtown," Pugh said.

The nearby Black Friday Market is hosting a shuttle from their retail store to Dix Park, where thousands will party at Dreamville.

"It's going to bring a lot of money to the store," said Janeyce Flagler, co-owner of Black Friday Market.

Starting Friday, Black Friday Market will launch its Dreamers Weekend. It's hosting events in Moore Square Park and at the store specifically catered to the festival.

On Sunday, customers can drop by to get a haircut, manicure and massage.

"It's been a long time since we were able to have fun," said store manager Shawn Smith. "I feel like it's a great opportunity to create some things and have some fun with everyone."
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