Protests Impacting Uptown Business

CHARLOTTE, NC — A week of protests and unrest in Charlotte have hit business in Uptown hard. Especially in the hospitality industry.

This on the heels of HB2’s devastating impact. Millions of dollars have been lost, leaving businesses to make some tough decisions.

“We’ve got a lot of small business owners, and a lot of hospitality workers, that are hurting right now,” says Michael Smith.

And it’s the hospitality industry that helps drive Uptown Charlotte. Charlotte Center City Partners president Michael Smith says Uptown is proud to be part of change, but it’s coming with a cost.

“This has been an incredible awakening for our community,” says Smith. “However, part of that, we’ve created some pain points for the hospitality industry. And this is an industry that’s really being disrupted through this.”

“You have to make some really tough decisions,” says Paul Manley. “We’ll lose some people. We’ve lost a ton of product in here.”

Manley is the owner of the Sea Level restaurant in Uptown.

“After 5 days of basically no sales, at this point we’re really looking at an economic crisis in the center of our city,” says Manley. “And it’s really affecting the people that work here.”

The loss of business during the Charlotte Protests comes on the heels of months of negative impact from HB2.

There are 120,000 people working in the hospitality industry in Charlotte; 7,5oo in Uptown restaurants alone. Men and women counting on these jobs to live.

The losses are piling up.

“We feel that,” says Manley. “That’s real business. Those are real hotel rooms. Those are real restaurant meals. Those are real tips on the table.”

“We gotta get back up here,” says Smith. “We gotta get dinner reservations. We’ve got to do the entertaining. Because that’s important infrastructure, and they’re vital jobs.”