|Vendors fall short of lofty expectations|
|Business slowed during CIAA week|
|Published Thursday, March 7, 2013 8:29 am|
The CIAA basketball tournament attracts not only sports fans and black college alumni, but also vendors hoping to score a profit.
But with a new CIAA commissioner, a focus on rebranding and erasing a $200,000 deficit, changes to the vendor policy left some feeling benched.
“It has been very, very slow,” said Vincent Payin of DJ’s Sportswear, which once had the official license for CIAA merchandise when the tournament was in Raleigh.
Thursday sales usually gauge how the rest of the week will go, he said, and this year, it was slow. Although business on Wednesday was better, it was still down overall.
A cosmetic company representative, who requested anonymity, who spoke out against the changes that were hurting business.
Vendors were restricted to the first floor at Time Warner Cable Arena and charged more to participate, he said. If a vendor had more than two employees on site, they were expected to pay to enter the arena.
“And we were asked to cover our merchandise during high-volume times. They have changed the rules,” the vendor said.
William McNeill, a sports consultant and Winston-Salem State University Hall of Fame inductee, said Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter is pursuing a path that will draw corporate support. “She is doing what it takes to get more support,” he said.
McNeill predicts more changes, but Carpenter is “spoon-feeding us because abrupt change would run people away.”
Some fans are not so sure about the changes, pointing to the new ticket system that prevented single-game purchases.
The cosmetic vendor said although he understands the conference must pull itself into profitability, in doing so, “it should not take away the heart and soul of the CIAA.”
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