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May 29, 2014

Visit leaves village businesses upbeat

Despite having varying business results on the day, Cooperstown business owners and employees had mostly good things to say about President Barack Obama’s visit Thursday, and its potential effect on the upcoming tourist season.

For the Smith family and Spurbeck’s Grocery, Obama’s visit to Cooperstown made them optimistic about its impact on the future.

“It’s nice when he (Obama) gets around,” said Dot Smith, who, with her husband, Roger, owns the business. “I wish he could be out more where the people are.”

Speaking about an hour before Obama arrived, Smith said that Obama’s impending visit hadn’t increased their business, which is located on Railroad Avenue, away from the village’s downtown.

“We’ve been really quiet here today … for a Thursday,” said Smith, who noted that most of the people who came to see the president were gathered downtown.

Smith said that she thought that people were either heading downtown, or avoiding the village entirely. The president spoke at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which is located in downtown Cooperstown.

“We’ve had people say ... ‘We’re going home ‘cause we don’t want to be here for all the hoopla,’” said Smith.

A similar observation was related by Trisha Walker, an employee at Rudy’s Liquor Store.

“Everybody doesn’t want to be in town because they’re worried about the traffic issues,” said Walker.

Randy Smith, son of Roger and Dot Smith, said that he sees the president’s visit as a business positive.

“I just think that it’s going to be ultimately really good for the tourism,” said Smith, who said that the visit will bring more attention to Cooperstown and that he hoped it would get covered on ESPN.

He also said that he didn’t agree with complaints he’d heard that the visit was disruptive.

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