Locals anticipate big business, protests during Democratic National Convention

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With just days to go until the Democratic National Convention, we may not know if we're hosting the future president of the United States.

But we do know tens of thousands of people will flood the streets of Center City for most of next week - all of them potential customers for local businesses.

"CBC was here in May and that was a tremendous amount of people, and we had one of our best weeks ever so we are really kind of keenly anticipating the DNC," said Alex Bokulich, Bru Craft & Wurst Director of Operations.

The city is also expecting another less celebratory crowd - about 35-50,000 protesters. The mayor's office says 10 protest permits have already been approved, two have been denied and 17 are pending. Those numbers are growing by the day.

"We hope that everything is going to be peaceful and safe, you know, we don't want violence or anything that jeopardizes other businesses or the safety of citizens, but the more people the merrier," said Bokulich.

But other businesses are cautiously optimistic about what thousands of protesters might do to their bottom line.

"One thing it might do is kind discourage people from heading where they know there might be protesters," said Jean Rebvovich, Marketing and Digital Strategist with Luxe Home Furniture. "We are two blocks away from City Hall, a block away from City Hall, it's prime protester area."

Demonstrations will take place in Center City including around City Hall, Thomas Paine Plaza and locations in South Philadelphia. The city is giving merchants no choice but to play it safe. Sandra Andino says doors must be closed, patio furniture put away and trash cans chained down.

"They're telling us that we have to put locks on them and make sure that we have them by the 25th or else we are going to get fined," said Andino, Scratch Biscuits Manager.

But many told us, being a business owner in the heart Philadelphia, protests simply come with the territory.

"This is the city where our nation was born. This is the best place for us to showcase that freedom of speech," said Henry Henson, Bru Craft & Wurst General Manager.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.