HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's the irony of APEC, the meetings are meant to build economies but the area surrounding those meetings is a business dead zone. So far small businesses around the convention center say APEC has been a bust. Stores haven't seen an economic boost in fact some haven't seen any customers at all.
Ask small businesses and APEC has only brought in hype and headaches. Some stores next to the convention center are especially hurting. Workers say the APEC people aren't the type to come in and get a 12 pack at the local liquor store, they certainly don't need a check cashed and if they get a manicure they're likely going to the spa in their hotel. Worse yet they say the barriers keep local customers away.
"You can hear the crickets. Actually I hear the birds outside singing so it's been very quiet," said Terence Yorga, Gadget Guyz Cellular Repairs, which is the kiosk directly across from the convention center. "We went from being very busy to nobody coming in. It's only negative impact because the roads are closed and no one can get in or out of the area easily. There's not a lot of drive by traffic."
The Eye Glass Shoppe isn't even bothering to open. It's focused on reopening Monday.
The Yakiniku Migawon Korean Restaurant across the street is also closed.
Those restaurants that did open are empty even at lunch hour. The Ojiya Restaurant had just three customers by 1:00. And the Seoul Garden Yakiniku says it's the slowest it's ever been.
"I've been here 10 years and it's the first time it's slow like this," said Yun Hee, Seoul Garden Yakiniku Owner. "Business is almost 70 to 80 percent down."
It's not just businesses around the convention center that are taking a hit. Some of those that make a living out on the water are also getting wiped out.
"This is probably going to be the worst November that we've seen," said Greg Longnecker, X-Treme Parasail and Jet Ski.
Longnecker's Jet Ski business is closed per Coast Guard rules. He says he's losing about $15,000 and he's laid off four workers for the week.
"Anytime they shut down your business for 7 days it's going to affect your bottom line," said Longnecker. "We actually advertised in the APEC magazine for the convention center but we're yet to see if anyone is actually going to do any activities. It looks like they're just going to do a lot of meetings and what not."
They'd like to welcome the APEC visitors but they can't wait for the restrictions to leave.