Elvis Week means booming businesses
By Janice Broach
By Janice Broach
(WMC-TV) – Tens of thousands of visitors are in Memphis this week paying tribute to the King of Rock and Roll.
Most of them were at Graceland for the candlelight vigil for Elvis Presley. But that was not the only place fans visited while in town.
There was an estimated 75,000 visitors for the vigil Wednesday. Those visitors, who traveled to Memphis from all over the world, are staying in hotels and eating at restaurants. That business is bringing in millions of dollars according to the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Graceland tells Action News 5 that the 2012 Elvis Week could set a new record.
Business owners on Beale Street are also reaping the benefits.
"We had the Belgian, Belgium and Swedish fan clubs, the French fan clubs in here, the Elvis fan groups fan clubs," said Lauren Barrett, who works at Alfred's on Beale.
Barrett says business is booming with Elvis fans and Thursday night was phenomenal.
"The whole street was just packed with people it was fun. It's been a lot of fun," she said.
"I've been here before and I love Beale Street. I love it. We're going to the Cannon Center tonight. We just bought tickets we hope to see a great show," said Marlene Kirby, who is visiting from Canada.
Kirby has been in Memphis for one week. She said the crowds at Graceland and all over downtown Memphis are amazing with people getting a taste of the city.
Martin Van Loon came from Holland. He spent the whole week in town staying at hotels and eating in local restaurants. This is his first visit and he is surprised by all of the people.
"Only place where that happens is Graceland. So many people remembering a man that passed away 35 years ago," said Holland.
Some visitors did not even plan to come or stay in town.
"I had a contestant who was in the Elvis contest downtown and I make jumpsuits. And I was almost done and I was pushed to the last minute and wound up having to drive here and give it to him," said Marc Woodward, North Carolina.
Woodward decided to stay and see what it is all about.
Graceland does not yet have all of the numbers in because there are still two days left of Elvis Week. But a spokesperson said this 35th anniversary could be a record breaking year.
The Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau also predicts huge numbers but those figures have not yet been compiled.
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