By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN — As the crowd shifted from Main Street to Middlefield for the 2020/2021 National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Induction, local merchants said business was solid, but not as good as a typical Induction Weekend.
Laura Tolbert from All About the Girls said that she was hoping for better.
“It feels like what our normal day should have been like,” Tolbert said. “We’re not getting business like it’s an Induction.”
Tolbert said this year felt different because there was no parade and the Induction was in the middle of the week in September, as opposed to a weekend in July. She said since Cooperstown relies on the summer tourism season to make money, it’s disappointing it wasn’t as good as previous inductions.
“Maybe some people couldn’t take off,” Tolbert said. “This is our last hurrah and it doesn’t feel like an Induction.”
The Baseball Hall of Fame Induction was moved from July to September because of the coronavirus pandemic. The choice to make the induction on a Wednesday in September confounded some business owners but quite a few were happy that they were even getting an induction at all.
Emily Pernat, who had a table of merchandise outside for Willis Monie Books, said there was a noticeable difference in attendance on Main Street compared to previous inductions.
“I remember in 2019, you could barely walk down the street,” Pernat said, but she said she was still happy with the sales being made. “We didn’t bring out as much (merchandise) but we’re still selling what we have.”
Frank Albertine of Seventh Inning Stretch had a positive view on how well the business did, and said it was “better than we expected.”
Albertine said that he was happy Derek Jeter was finally able to get his day.
Sal’s Pizza owner Mark Deso had a similar take.
“The morning was busy,” Deso said. “Not anywhere near what we expect from a July Induction, but I was pleasantly surprised.”
Deso said he thinks they would have done better had the induction occurred in July as opposed to September.
“It would’ve brought more people in July. Families can take more time off in the summer,” Deso said. However, overall he said he was appreciative of the business he received and excited to share the day with baseball enthusiasts who frequent his pizzeria. “We’re happy to see Jeter fans and Yankee fans,” Deso said.
Hotels in the area reported sellouts Monday and Tuesday and the village streets were filled with cars Wednesday. The crowd stayed on Main Street until early afternoon and filled about half the field at the Clark Sports Center.
A rain plan to hold the event at nearby Glimmerglass Festival was unneeded as the rain waited until the end of the ceremony to fall.