Milwaukee, 2024 RNC leaders launch vendor connection tool to help hometown businesses

NOW: Milwaukee, 2024 RNC leaders launch vendor connection tool to help hometown businesses

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Leaders from Milwaukee and the 2024 Republican National Convention Host Committee are encouraging local businesses to connect with a new tool aimed at helping them reap the potential economic benefits for the RNC next summer and future events.

"Our goal with the vendor connection is to drive lasting economic impact across the greater Milwaukee area and the state of Wisconsin," host committee senior advisor and chief of staff Alison Prange said at a news conference at the Sherman Phoenix on Thursday, April 20.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said he hopes the vendor connection tool helps the convention's expected economic impact to spread beyond downtown and into the city's other neighborhoods.

"I want for local businesses here in our city, here in our state to be able to make money," Johnson told reporters. "I want them to be able to hire employees, I want them to be able to spread the benefits of having a big convention throughout our economy locally."

Officials said businesses can start signing up on the site now and the information they enter will be used to build a database to share with convention organizers. RNC leaders can then use the database to see what local businesses may be able to help with different events for the convention.

The database will also be shared with VISIT Milwaukee, which will share the list with organizers of potential future events. VISIT Milwaukee said interest in the city as a host for large events has grown recently.

"Our leads have more than doubled since we announced hosting the 2024 Republican National Convention," VISIT Milwaukee President and CEO Peggy Williams-Smith said.

Business leaders and owners at the Sherman Phoenix on the city's north side -- which hosted the news conference -- say they are optimistic for the economic benefits of the RNC.

"I really hope that the money filters through the communities because it would make a big difference," Amelia Sanders of Queen's Closet, a nonprofit organization, told CBS 58.

Kevin Junior, the owner of Junior's Smoked BBQ, said he is already planning to sign up with the vendor tool in hopes of catering opportunities. He told CBS 58 he is glad the city is getting a second chance with the RNC after the 2020 DNC was severely limited due to the pandemic.

"The RNC we think it's going to be much bigger than what the DNC was going to be," Junior said. "And this is the one that we have been waiting on, we've been hoping that the RNC will come here."

Businesses can sign up here.

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