published Friday, January 18th, 2013

14,000 cheerleaders on the way to Chattanooga

Chattanooga businesses prepare for cheerleading convention

  • photo
    Abbie Garner of the Bulldogs recreational cheerleading team from McDonough, Ga., laughs during a game of hide-and-seek with her teammates in the lobby of the Convention Center in this file photo.
    Photo by Kelly Wegel

IF YOU GO

* What: Athletic Championships cheer and dance competition.

* When: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

* Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza.

* Admission: Single day, $15 adults, $10 ages 5-10; two-day pass, $25 and $20.

* Website: www.athleticchampionships.com.

Come Saturday, Tony McInnis wants to see some serious dough.

McInnis, the owner of Tasty Daylight Donuts, expects a boost in sales this weekend when the National Cheerleading Championship comes to the Chattanooga Convention Center.

Tourism officials told McInnis the event should draw about 14,000 cheerleaders and family members on Saturday and Sunday, so he's stocking his doughnut shop with two extra workers and preparing the cooks for a busy day.

Candace Davis of the Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau said the event will generate about $5.04 million in spending. That figure is based on an estimate that each person attending will spend $180 a day on a hotel room and two meals.

McInnis has owned doughnut shops since 2009, including one in East Brainerd, but in November he opened another one on the corner of Chestnut Street and East Martin Luther King Boulevard -- about one-third of a mile north of the Convention Center. McInnis said he wanted to open the downtown shop in part because of events like this.

"We certainly got excited," he said of his staff's learning about the convention. "I committed to spending a bunch of money [opening the new store]. Now we just got to say a little prayer that it will come back to me."

Lynda Buckels is not part of the Visitors Bureau. But she still hopes to boost business this weekend at her handmade crafts store, O.C. Buckels & Co., which is next to McInnis' shop. She will offer discounts on some products and plans to pass out fliers at nearby hotels.

"We're hoping we can welcome any cheerleaders," she said.

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