Gem show dealer threatens to leave Tucson - Tucson News Now

Gem show dealer threatens to leave Tucson

By Bud Foster - email

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - One of the large vendors at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show has threatened to leave town if the city does not build its proposed $200 million downtown Sheraton and expand the TCC.

The American Gem Trade Association, which has been coming to Tucson since 1981, says other cities have expressed an interest like Phoenix and Las Vegas.

CEO Doug Hucker told the Tucson City Council, "if we do not see progress on a hotel and upgrading of the convention center, we will leave."

Hucker brings 2,000 exhibitors and 10,000 buyers to Tucson every year. The show is not open to the public but for vendors only. But those vendors come from all over the world.

"These are people who like to go to restaurants, shop and spend money," Hucker says.

There have been rumors in the past few months that some of the gem show events are not happy with Tucson.

"We love Tucson, but it's at a point where the need for better facilities is having a financial impact on our show and our members and we can no longer ignore that," Hucker says.

The Tucson city council members had no reaction to the Hucker announcement.

He was introduced by Mayor Bob Walkup who said "most of the city needs to understand that we have the best in the world and sometimes we lose the sight of that."

The Gem and Mineral Show has been in Tucson since 1955 and some estimates say it pumps $100 million into the local economy.

Even if Hucker leaves, it's not the end of things, but it will be noticed.

"If I leave, there will be some shows here but I promise you, the financial impact of my leaving will be significant," he says.

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