The American Taekwondo World Expo converges on Little Rock this week, and reports show it could bring a $5 million dollar boost to the economy with it.
Some officials predict anywhere between 20,000 and 30,000 people will visit the capital city this week as part of the annual event, which hosts competitors, instructors and spectators from all over the world.
Helen Grac King, a co-owner at ‘At The Corner’ modern diner on Markham expects to see a spike in customers.
“We do hire more people during the week so we’re well-staffed and prepared for it,” King says.
On Friday morning, the eatery was mostly full and a lot of the customers were decked out in Taekwondo robes.
“There’s so many people that we feel strange when we’re not in uniform walking around,’ Tom McKinney says.
McKinney is in town from Indiana. He’s an instructor who has been coming to the expo, which is housed at the Statehouse Convention Center, since 1987.
“We frequent a lot of the places, especially the places that are within walking distance,” McKinney says.
People with white robes and blue duffel bags can be seen shuffling up and down Markham throughout the weekend. The expo runs through Sunday and reports show it is contracted to be held in Little Rock through 2030.
“[The expo] not only boosts the economy, but it boosts people’s awareness of what an amazing community Little Rock is,” King says.