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Conventions Bring Big Business To Springfield

Updated: Friday, July 18 2014, 03:51 PM CDT
This week Coca-Cola collectors are in town for their national convention, and Aldersgate Ministries is at the Prairie Capital Convention Center for their conference.

Each event is bringing people who are staying at local hotels, eating at our restaurants, and shopping here locally, which is all good for the economy.

"Anything you can put a Coke logo on they put their logo on," said Dick McChensney from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

And Coke collectors are serious about preserving that part of what they consider American history, while also enjoying all the history Springfield has to offer.

"We've gone to do all of the Lincoln stuff. I promised myself that I would not stay in the hotel for seven days. I want to see Springfield and we've done that," said McChensney.

Aldersgate Renewal Ministries is also calling Springfield home for the week, bringing in visitors from all over the U.S.

"We just got done visiting the shopping areas and looking, touring the capital building. Hopefully we want to take in some of the sites and see a presentation on Lincoln," said Robert Oyer from Holly, New York.

And playing host to visitors is a good thing for Springfield.

"Both of those organizations will bring about 1500-1600 guest room nights into Springfield. As well as about half a million dollars in economic impact to the community," said Gina Gemberling, Acting Director, Springfield Visitor and Convention Bureau.

The Prairie Capital Convention Center aims to generate upwards of $72 million for the local economy now that their renovations are complete.

"It's not necessarily the dollars the convention center itself generates off those events, it's the money the people spend in our community," said Brian Oaks, General Manager, PCCC.

"They're also out shopping, they're dining, they're buying gas in our community and spending dollars all around the community," said Gemberling.

Sangamon County saw over $388 million in total expenditures from tourism last year.

The Illinois Office of Tourism will be releasing the latest numbers on tourism in this area at the end of this month.

The Coca-Cola convention will be hosting a swap meet that's open to the public -- it takes place this Saturday from 10am to 2pm at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Conventions Bring Big Business To Springfield
Conventions Bring Big Business To Springfield

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