NRA convention brings dollars to Indy, but not all businesses seeing impact

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – If you’re heading to a downtown bar this weekend, you may bump into the tens of thousands of people calling Indianapolis home during the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention.

Businesses are expecting a $35 million economic boost from foot traffic, but some restaurants said this convention is different.

Businesses close to the Indianapolis Convention Center said proximity is key, with convention-goers making pit stops for food during lunch.

“We are doing about a 20-25 minute wait,” said Emily Tudor, a manager at Burger Study downtown. “They are definitely starting to flood in.”

Another downtown restaurant we spoke with said they actually lost money when the NRA Convention came through in 2014. An employee there said the NRA convention goers tend to go home after, or stick to their hotels.

Employees at restaurants like Prime 47 said the economic impact often is on a convention by convention basis.

“For 75,000 people being in town, if this were a racing convention we’d be packed,” Prime 47 bartender Greg Mickelson said. “We do a good job of keeping in contact with the people at the Convention Center, and then keeping numbers the previous years.”

Prime 47 has no formal gun policy, which may be a benefit when it comes to foot traffic this weekend.

“If someone is going to turn away someone with concealed carry, I could see it hurt you," Mickelson said.

Convention-goers told us it’s a deal breaker, "No guns, no business."

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