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Politics / Issues

RNC Voices on the Street: Hot Doughnuts But Fewer Customers

Tampa’s public buildings are being surrounded by tall steel fences. The statue of Lady Justice outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse is boarded up with ¾ inch plywood as is the memorial for fallen police officers in front of the Tampa Police headquarters.

It’s a sight that saddens Franklin Street vendor, Bruce Frechette, owner of the Hot Donut Company.

“Our response to this convention is predicated by what happened in Minneapolis,” Frechette said. “When people come here, and if they’ve never been to Tampa, and they come to the downtown district and they see what’s going on, it’s not Tampa.”

The RNC is displacing Frechette. He has to move his doughnut and coffee kiosk two blocks north. He’s already lost several regular customers who work at city hall and surrounding skyscrapers. City and county offices are shut down for the week of the RNC.

The city wanted to shut down the Hot Donut Co. as well but instead agreed to move his Franklin Street space. Frechette said he’ll be there to sell his freshly made doughnuts and flavored coffees to visiting news media, protestors and anyone else in downtown next week.

WUSF will check in with Frechette throughout the convention to see how business is going.

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