Mixed news on when New Bern Convention Center, other businesses will open post Florence


    Places like the New Bern Convention Center along with two other major hotels and some smaller businesses are still closed after Hurricane Florence. (Christy Hutchings, NewsChannel 12 photo)

    The New Bern Convention Center and two downtown hotels damaged by Hurricane Florence and flooding after are still closed.

    The good news is the Courtyard by Marriott New Bern will be open in the next couple of weeks. That means more people will be coming to the area. The bad news is the convention center likely won't open until the fall. There is no word on when the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New Bern Riverfront will open.

    Business owners we spoke with on nearby Middle Street say they can see the affects of these places not being open. Still, they are making it and say by no means is it doom and gloom for them. They said they are having to be smart while they continue to wait for the convention center to open.

    "I'm just trying to plan accordingly, not go in too deep into merchandise and just be smart as we can and hope for the best," said Heather Sinclair of Snap Dragon.

    Tom Ballance, owner of Captain Ratty's, said his business has been down 15-20 percent. He believes once the convention center opens, that will change.

    "They're saying September," Ballance said. "We hope it's September because then people who don't have a place to stay, it will still bring people downtown."

    "I think it's slowly getting back," said Ellen Prince of Blue Magnolia. "It's kind of hard to tell because we had some really rainy weekends still. But I think it's slowly creeping back up."

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