Annual Vera Bradley Show Kicks Off

By Scott Sarvay
By Jason Meyers

June 18, 2010 Updated Apr 29, 2010 at 5:38 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The Vera Bradley Outlet Sale has already seen one of its busiest starts ever, which means millions of dollars being spent in Fort Wayne.

40,000 people, mostly women, descend upon Fort Wayne from all across America with some coming as far as the Netherlands, Australia and Canada. Our own Jason Meyers even met someone from Brazil.

But no matter where they're from, they all have a list.

Missionary from Brazil Cindy Richner said, "I'm looking for a large duffel bag, because I do a lot of traveling and maybe a weekender."

And because these shoppers are traveling so far, they are a big boost to the Fort Wayne economy, too.

Once they get here, they need a place to sleep, even if it's just a little while.

From Adrian, Michigan Leeann McMichael said, "We got here about nine o'clock last night, took a nice four, five hour nap at the hotel and then came over."

Hotels say this is one of their best weekends all year. They're full from Wednesday night through Sunday and you have to plan well in advance to find a room.

Rob Evans with Holiday Inn says, “When this weekend is over, we will already be at 75% occupancy for the same weekend for next year."

And we all know shopping makes you hungry and even a little thirsty. So that means everyone's eating at our restaurants, which is another nice boost.

Mark Klinker with McDonalds Regional Operations says, “We gear up for this time, because it's a busy weekend for us. We plan for it. We have more employees, we put more management staff on."

All in all, the Fort Wayne Visitors Bureau estimates these women bring $5- 6 million to Fort Wayne each year.

That's a big boost to our local economy.

And speaking of boosts McDonald's handed out little boosts to the shoppers Thursday morning, free samples of their McFrappe's.

Self-proclaimed Vera Bradley addict Connie Smith said, “If you're addicted to the Vera Bradley items, it's a really good deal.”

And that addiction is healthy for Fort Wayne's economy.

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