Coop Vendors, Officials: 2022 a ‘Good Year’

Coop Vendors, Officials:
2022 a ‘Good Year’

By Caspar Ewig
Cooperstown Patrolman Brad Ross prepares the parking meters for winter. (Caspar Ewig/AllOtsego.com)

Now that the parking meters have received their winter covers, it is time to assess the results of summer 2022 in Cooperstown.

The meters, which spring into function on Memorial Day and fall into disuse on Columbus Day, as well as the trolley ridership from the parking lots that surround Cooperstown, represent a good barometer of the town’s commercial health. Using that yardstick as a guide, this summer has proved to be a good exit from the pandemic doldrums.

Based on the parking income, Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk was quite encouraged that Cooperstown had bounced back.

“In a good year, we expect gross parking income to reach $450,000. This year we collected $300,000 from the meters and $59,000 from the parking app,” Falk said.

Although Falk noted that ridership on the trolley was down from 2019, she was of the opinion that this reflected an aversion to public transit which caused many to walk into town.

“Overall, tourism seems to have returned to a fairly normal level even though our numbers were down.”

The anticipation that gasoline prices and inflation would negatively impact tourism appears to have been largely unfounded. Most store owners reported a good year with a solid rise in sales.

“People did seem a bit more careful with their money this year,” said Laura Tolbert, owner of All About The Girls, located in Doubleday Parking lot. “Those who wanted to make impulse purchases still did.”

“Rather than fuel or currency concerns, our clients in the lodging business reported that they were hampered by the lack of staff,” said Cassandra Harrington, the executive director of Destination Marketing Corporation for Otsego County. “Although final year-end figures are not yet available, we expect 2022 figures to be strong.”

On the other hand, businesses that relied on the attendance at Cooperstown Dreams Park or Cooperstown All Star Village in Oneonta did not see their volumes rise to the pre-pandemic levels. Although both parks had potentially increased the number of weeks in operation by reducing each session from a full week to six days, those working at Dreams Park noted that total team participation was substantially reduced.

This lower attendance at Dreams Park made itself felt by reduced traffic for those in the diner and restaurant business.

Perry Ferrara, owner of Hard Ball Café in Cooperstown, which caters to team outings, said that while he had a good year, his attendance was off.

“Having our attendance below what it has been in past years was actually somewhat of a benefit since it let me reset after being closed for two years due to the pandemic,” Ferrara said. “Next year should be solid because I understand Dreams Park is already booking teams for summer 2023.”

The baseball memorabilia stores saw a solid upswing in business but were negatively affected by the reduced schedule at the team baseball parks. As Zach Vreeland at Baseballism observed, the concentrated “in-park” activity resulting from reduced schedules meant that the parents and participants would only make one trip into town whereas in other years they would have made two or three trips.

The general consensus among memorabilia stores was that while 2022 was a vast improvement, it did not achieve 2019 levels.

“Nor do I think we will see those numbers again in the near future,” said Frank Albertine, owner of Main Street’s Seventh Inning Stretch.


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