It’s the city that picked up steam after March Madness took center stage.
“I think the tournament served as a catalyst for us a little bit,” Julio Concepcion, executive director of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce said.
Two weeks after the Capital City was flooded with an estimated 45,000 people. City leaders are figuring out how to maneuver its momentum.
“I think that’s where the new revitalized chamber of commerce comes in and we haven’t had a chamber a true chamber in about 20 years,” Concepcion said.
Concepcion, just two months in as Hartford’s new Chamber of Commerce executive director is already figuring out how to leverage the city’s upcoming events like the Hartford Yard Goats third season and Hartford Athletic soccer games.
“Having that full Hartford experience, it’s not just going to the game but it’s visiting some of the restaurants, some of the retail that we have here in downtown,” Concepcion said.
“Definitely the exposure worked and we’re hoping that we see a continuing increase in business,” David St. Onge, assistant general manager of City Steam Brewery said.
St. Onge says the influx in foot traffic during the tournament has already helped bring people back through his doors.
“I think people view going into the city as something of an event, a hassle it can be with traffic things like that so the better they come in the more time they spend the better,” Concepcion said.
Concepcion hopes Hartford’s next big events like Jazzfest, the Dragon Boat Festival and Hartford Marathon will see the same success of people coming for more than just one stop.
“Part of my role is to really get that out there in marketing is a huge component of that and making sure that people understand what we have to offer people here in the city of Hartford and that falls on me,” Concepcion said.
Pratt Street had so much success during the tournament, the city will now shut the area down to traffic and provide live music during lunchtime on Fridays. The chamber is also working on a social media and digital marketing campaign to keep the momentum going.