Semicon West Conference breathes life into Downtown San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – An annual electronics conference is happening this week at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, giving downtown a major business boom. 

Business owners say it is a breath of fresh air to see all the people on the downtown streets. They say the conferences feel like the old days when everyone worked in offices.

Semicon West will be at Moscone Center through Thursday. 

“We got 11,000 attendees in town,” said Marriott Marquis General Manager and San Francisco Travel Board Chair John Anderson. “They’ll bring about $18 million of economic impact to downtown San Francisco. They do microelectronics. It’s a great little meeting that comes to us annually.”

Many flooded into bars and restaurants. A private event with conference attendees was held at the Executive Bar and Lounge on Mission Street. 

The owner, John-Eric Sanchez, says conferences like these help keep his business afloat.

“If we don’t have a conference coming to town it’s going to be a tough month to get through,” he said. “Without conventions and businesses returning to the office and offices reopening in this area, this is what we rely on to pay the rent.”

Sanchez says business in this area is normally pretty slow as it is still struggling to rebound from the pandemic.

“This neighborhood is seriously lacking in foot traffic. There are a lot of closed-down businesses,” he said. “We are located at the SF Emporium Center where it’s still not quite back to pre-pandemic levels. It’s lost a lot of tenants. But we have managed to hang on and hope for days like this.”

The lobby at the Marriott Marquis was also full of attendees.

“Our housekeeps are happy. Smiles on their faces. We have 700 associates, so when we have these conferences they get to work and that’s what it is all about,” Anderson said. 

Anderson says businesses in this area experience ebbs and flows in terms of revenue, but overall things are improving. 

Sanchez says there are more events to look forward to, but he’s nervous about how they will fare during the off months. 

“We’ve got Dreamforce this September but you know after Semi leaves town, August is looking to be a very slow month. Without Dreamforce in September, we would probably have to wait until December for holiday parties,” he said. 

Dreamforce goes from September 17-19 and nearly 200,000 people attend that event.

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