Downtown Businesses Mixed on Impact of Presidential Visit
President Obama's campaign rally in Charlottesville today is part of a two-day college tour where he hopes to gain support from young voters, but his visit on the downtown mall could affect some businesses closest to the action.
There's definitely a mix of emotions. Some business owners, who didn't want to go on camera, say having the president here is a big inconvenience while others are excited about the energy he'll bring to the downtown mall.
The president is expected to take the podium at the pavilion around 2:30 p.m., right when the usual work day is in full swing on the downtown mall.
The last time he was here in 2010, Obama addressed a crowd of about 5,000 when he campaigned on behalf of then-Congressman Tom Perriello. While that brought a lot more people to the downtown, some businesses say it didn't actually draw customers inside and in some cases blocked access to their stores.
Still, many of the restaurants and shops we spoke to welcome the president.
"I hope we are busy and I hope it's great for every business on the Downtown Mall," said Susan Woolford, the assistant manager at The Nook restaurant.
Terre Sisson at The Spectacle Shop is also optimistic. "So maybe some people who normally wouldn't come will come and experience it and see what a wonderful place it is to shop and be," said Sisson.
The Spectacle Shop says some of its customers already planned ahead and stopped by earlier in the week or they plan to pick-up their glasses another day.
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Jennifer Von Reuter joined the NBC29 news team in June 2009 as a general assignment reporter. Prior to joining NBC29, Jennifer worked as an anchor and reporter for WHAG-TV in Hagerstown, MD. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story