Restaurants, hotels hope debate will bring large crowds to Boca Raton

Extra staff being hired to handle increase

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Finding a hotel room in Boca Raton for Monday night - is now near impossible.

"Monday we're booked, Sunday we're almost there," says Tony Franzone, the General Manager at nearby Embassy Suites.

The handful of hotels closest to Lynn University were booked weeks ago. The faceoff between President Obama and Governor Romney is poised to increase business at nearby Embassy Suites by up to 35 percent. This being the tail end of slow season, the timing is perfect.

"This event really pushed us over a typical October weekend. It's more hours, more tips, more business in the restaurant," says Franzone.

And more jobs for people at Rosso, Italia restaurant. Ahead of the debate, the staff has increased 25%.

"We planned on hiring for the season, but we brought some people in earlier because of the debate, and because of season they'll stay on," says Jon Gross, of Rosso, Italia.

"Consumer driven impact is estimated at $5 million that we can convert into dollars through heads in beds, retail and restaurants," says Gross.

Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce President Troy McLellan says that could triple when it's all said and done.
Numbers aside, the attention from simply hosting the debate is priceless.

"I think being in the national spotlight is great for Boca Raton, and for south Florida," says McLellan.

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