Denton's New Convention Center Creating a Buzz

It's something business and tourism folks in Denton say has been lacking, for way too long. The Denton Convention Center is now open, part of the new Embassy Suites Hotel, just off I-35.

A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Thursday. At 70,000 square feet inside, the room can seat up to 2,000 people for dinner or 3,000 for other events. Those who manage the space say the location is perfect... Dallas, Fort Worth and DFW Airport are all easily accessed.

But Denton is the real draw. Locally made food and drink will be showcased, and local businesses will be featured. A Peterbilt truck -- the one millionth to roll off the assembly line recently at Dentons Peterbilt plant -- was brought inside for the grand opening.

"I think we look at what Denton has to offer, and we offer so much more than Frisco or DFW and the airport and even San Marcos and some of these other areas," said Jeff Pritts, the facility's general manager.

Around Denton's square, many business owners look forward to the influx of new potential customers.

"We feel like it's going to help the growth of our industry, and what's going on in the Denton area," said Margaret Rich, managing supervisor of Beth Marie's Ice Cream, a Denton fixture for nearly two decades.

"The new Denton Convention Center is a game-changer," said Kim Phillips, vice president of Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau. Part of her job is to help connect tens of thousands of convention goers to what Denton has to offer.

"What that does is opens the door to a whole new market to discover us as a community," she said.

Pritts says his sales staff has already lined up over $4 million dollars worth of business, with conventions lined up as far out as 2024.

"I think it's going to be amazing for business, absolutely," said Rich.

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