The California Republican Party Convention rolls into Burlingame this weekend with about 1,000 participants and their families in tow, but Burlingame businesses seem indifferent.
“I haven’t heard anything,” said Burlingame Chamber of Commerce President Georgette Naylor when asked if any businesses or restaurants were planning on advertising deals or specials for the weekend.
She pointed to Burlingame’s Democratic majority for the apathetic response from business owners to a large influx of Republican tourists in town.
Whether or not merchants will welcome the Republicans with special deals, a steady flow of business this weekend is likely.
Chuck McDougald, chairman of the San Mateo County Republican Party, said each convention lunch and dinner holds about 500 guests, leaving another 500 who will likely cross the Broadway overpass and venture into Burlingame and surrounding towns for meals and shopping.
On the convention website, Burlingame Avenue is pointed out as a nearby area for participants to visit, although Nuts For Candy owner John Kevranian wishes they would have pointed out the restaurants and shops on Broadway, as well.
“They mention a few areas in the Peninsula, [but] they don’t talk about Broadway,” he said. “I’m disappointed.”
Kevranian has given some Broadway restaurants a heads-up about the convention and hopes some visitors will take the free shuttle from the hotels to Burlingame’s downtown areas.
He is one of few merchants preparing for the convention, placing red, white and blue bears and elephant versions of the stuffed animals he sells in the storefront window. He said in this case, political party affiliation is unimportant, as a large group of tourists in Burlingame will help business and hopefully boost revenue for the city.
“I don’t care what party you belong to,” Kevranian said. “It’s not about politics; it’s about business.”