Debate didn’t help sales on Main, Third — Uptown Coffee Café experienced most foot traffic

Published 2:48 pm Thursday, October 6, 2016

Tuesday’s Vice Presidential Debate drew in thousands of news reporters, but even with the extra foot traffic, several Main Street and Third Street businesses did not see extra sales.

“(Business) was so slow during the whole debate process,” said The River’s Edge Boutique sales associate Renee Boise.

Another River Edge sales associate, Amanda Slayton, said she thought it was because everyone was on Main Street.

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“We are just so off to the corner that no one really sees us right here. We were expecting a little bit more of a bigger crowd,” Slayton said.

Further up Third Street and closer to Main, didn’t see as many shoppers, either.

“We sold a lot of the ‘WTF’ signs (yesterday) — Welcome to Farmville,” said owner Anthony Demarco. “But regarding the debate, not much business came from the debate. We expected a lot of business, but we weren’t used for any banners or signs.”

Although they did not see as much business as expected, Demarco says he didn’t think it was because his business is not located on Main Street.

The Sleeping Bee, located on Main Street, was closed Tuesday.

“The (‘I survived the Vice Presidential Debate 2016’) shirts brought people in up until the end of last week … somewhat,” said Sleeping Bee co-owner Jimmy Johnson. “But, as far as the debate and traffic from the debate, it was minimal to none.”

Johnson said they weren’t expecting more people to come in and shop — they knew better.

“The town was expecting more people, and told us that, and we were excited about it. But, we felt the reality was going to be what it was: That there would not be more people because the people that were coming for the debate were here to work. They came to eat, sleep if they were here long enough, work, gas and go on home. They weren’t here to buy trinkets, souvenirs or to just look around,” he said.

Tom Pairet, owner of Pairets Inc., didn’t see the foot traffic most expected on Tuesday. “I found the town was basically a ghost town for the most part from a shopping perspective. There were a lot of media and supporters on and off of Main Street over the day,” Pairet said. “Most comments I heard were that the majority of the people did not want to get tangled up in the event.”

Uptown Coffee Café, owned by Jason Mattox, was one Main Street business that did prosper with debate visitors. The café took on three big jobs for the debate, including a large order from CNN, consisting of hundreds of to-go items. According to Uptown, cooks arrived 2 a.m. Tuesday to make sure all orders would be done on time.