Local businesses expected to benefit from thousands attending AKA convention

Alpha Kappa Alpha, one of the largest African American sororities in the world, will host its biennial convention in Houston starting Friday, July 6 through Thursday, July 12. Members decked out in pink and green -- AKA's official colors-- will soon take over the George R. Brown Convention Center, to celebrate the sorority's 68th International Boule. 

Nearly 20,000 members are registered to attend, but organizers said they expect that number to double or even triple with additional family, friends and staff members tagging along for the fun. 

Although the convention will focus on AKA's dedication to service projects, leadership training and professional development, members will also spend a significant amount of their time exploring the local flavors of Houston. 

"In addition to the service projects we partake in, attendees also dine out, they go out, they see the museums and the parks, they partake in everything that Houston has to offer. So by the time we're leaving here, we're looking at more than $10 million of impact in roughly about a five-day period time," AKA's Communications Chairman Leona Dotson said. 

Restaurants like Lucille's in the Museum District, will host several different AKA chapters for dinner on Tuesday. 

General manager, EJ Harvey, said the restaurant is looking forward to serving AKA's members throughout the week. 

"As a black-owned business, to have one of the most prominent black sororities in the country choose to dine here with us, is an honor," Harvey said. 

"Tuesday for most restaurants inside the loop isn't really a busy day, but it's great having them there because I'm pretty sure they'll be patronizing most of the businesses in the area."

AKA Convention Chairman, Deidra Fountaine, said that revenue then trickles down and goes back into serving the local African American communities. 

"We absolutely want to help out African American owned businesses and give back to them any chance we can," Fountaine said. 

The City Controller's Office said on average, a convention that draws 5,000 attendees could bring in up to $2 million in revenue; so with nearly 20,000+ attendees, Houston could see up to $20 million of additional revenue by the end of next week.