Big concert sparks hope for Kinston economic comeback - WSPA.com

Big concert sparks hope for Kinston economic comeback

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KINSTON, N.C. - The Kinston Indians played a big part of Lenoir County's economy.

They not only added money to the county, but they also drew in crowds to support surrounding businesses. But since the Indians left 3 years ago, the local economy's taken a hit.

But with big concerts like the one Wednesday night, business owners hope to see more positive impact.

Grangier Stadium is expected to be full of people and rocking as Jon Pardi, Craig Campbell, and Joe Nichols all take the stage. And business owners hope that big crowds at the stadium will translate into big money in their pockets.

"It had an effect on us, it really has," said Chris Maroules, the owner of Christopher’s Cafeteria in Kinston. He says when the town lost the Indians and baseball, businesses lost money.

"The largest days we've ever had here were when East Carolina played the super regionals at Grainger Stadium and, of course, when Durham's last game at Grainger Stadium when they went to triple A ball," said Chris Maroules.

But with a big concert coming to Grainger Stadium, Lenoir County Economic Development Director Mark Pope says he's hopeful that if the concert goes well, it might pave the way for future concerts in Kinston.

"You never know what may lead to seeing something in Eastern North Carolina,” said Mark Pope, Lenoir County Economic Development Director. “They may come wanting to live or visit again. So there's just so much to offer in Eastern North Carolina that we have, that's just a good place to be."

The news of some of Nashville's biggest stars paying eastern Carolina a visit is exciting for Trent Mooring, the president of Mother Earth Brewery. 

"I think that having big events like that are going on at Grainger Stadium is like gravy on top of all our tourism that we're getting already,” said Trent Mooring. “So we're pretty excited about that."

Maroules says the biggest impact he's seen in the area in the last few years is Mother Earth Brewery, but he's hopeful the brewery combined with activities in Kinston will help all the businesses in the future.

"I think we have a great potential with that,” he said. “And you combine it all, potentially another baseball team, the water park, then you have a destination point for Kinston." 

Officials estimate the Kinston Indians brought about $2.1 million every year, and that doesn't include the money spent at restaurants shops or hotels. They say they hope events like tonight’s will help make up for some of those loses.
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