After narrowly avoiding a second year without induction crowds because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cooperstown business owners were cautiously optimistic Monday about the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2020 induction ceremony, scheduled for Wednesday.
Restaurants were busy and tourists made their way in and out of shops along Main Street looking for souvenirs Monday afternoon. Controversial baseball legend Pete Rose was also in the village, signing autographs.
In addition to helping customers, business owners were getting ready for Wednesday by setting up tables outside their businesses for displays and putting last minute touches on displays inside.
All of the shops in the village will be required to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 guidelines requiring people who are not vaccinated to wear masks. Some stores will require people to wear masks whether they are vaccinated or not, and have signs at their doors stating it.
Shop owners said they were excited and hopeful about the induction ceremony.
Kathryn Busse, co-owner of the Pioneer Patio Restaurant and the Silver Fox Gift Shop, said this will be the 35th induction ceremony she has been in business for.
“I’m excited,” she said. “I’m not quite sure how many people to expect since it will be on a Wednesday.”
Busse’s gift shop sells jewelry, Christmas ornaments, clothes with Cooperstown printed on them and gifts with inspirational sayings on them.
“I wanted to give people different options for shopping,” she said of the gift shop that doesn’t sell much baseball memorabilia.
Busse, a Cooperstown native, said ornaments, jewelry and clothing are her biggest sellers and she noticed a decline in sales this summer once the Cooperstown Dreams Park closed for the season. The baseball camp was only open four weeks this summer, she said.
One of the many stores that sells baseball merchandise is Mickey’s Place, and owner Vinny Russo said he expects to sell a lot of Derek Jeter mementos this week.
“I’ve gotten a decent inventory of hats and apparel,” Russo said. “The question is if I got too much or not enough.”
Russo said he doesn’t know what to expect this week.
“I’m hopeful, but we’re really sailing in uncharted waters,” he said. “It’s right after Labor Day and school is starting. Now the weather is uncertain, so I don’t know what to expect Wednesday.”
Russo said this is his 30th induction ceremony in business, and traditionally the Saturday of Induction Day Weekend is his biggest day of the year. He said, he didn’t know what to expect with it being a one-day event.
“We will probably see people beginning to arrive Tuesday afternoon for dinner and after the ceremony is over Wednesday,” he said.
Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_VickyK on Twitter.