BY MARK BOSHNACK
THE DAILY STAR
Cooperstown merchants interviewed Sunday said they were pleased with the new date for the Hall of Fame Classic at Doubleday Field.
In January, when the schedule change was announced, Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said “We believe that a switch to Saturdayenables a larger potential pool of families to experience this wonderful Cooperstown tradition.”
But turnout for Saturday’s game was 5,116 _ the lowest in the four years it has been played.
Last year the attendance was 5,687 at the stadium, which has seating capacity of about 9,800. The first two years it was played on Father’s Day, and about 7,000 people attended.
Cooperstown Motel owner Al O’Brien said he liked the change, but that the weekend’s business had been “soft.”
O’Brien said he thought having the event Saturday should make people more likely to stay over. But with the state of the economy and high gas prices, “that didn’t happen this year,” he said.
At Mickey’s Place on Main Street, owner Vin Russo said business was better than last year on game day. The store sells collectibles, hats and apparel.
Making the change was a “good idea,” he said, adding: “People have a lot of things to do on Father’s Day.”
Russo predicted that his store’s draw for the weekend would likely be “equal or a little better” to previous years when all the receipts were tallied.
He attributed some of that success to the weather, which stayed sunny and warm throughout Friday afternoon’s skills clinic, Saturday’s parade and game and Sunday’s “family catch” event at Doubleday Field.
“It was a very good weekend for us,” said Kathryn Busse, co-owner of Christmas Around the Corner andSilver Fox Craft Shop gift shops. The people she spoke with said they were happy the game was Saturday.
“People wanted to be home for Father’s Day,” Busse said, adding that most of her customers either made the game a day trip or left early Sunday.
Busse echoed Russo’s comments, calling the weekend’s weather “beautiful.”
At the Cooperstown Classics clothing store, owner Jen Howard characterized business as “pretty good. ... better than I thought it would be.”
“It was fun and it’s always nice to have extra people here,” Ellsworth and Sill clothing store co-owner Marti Jex said. Although her business wasn’t as busy as it had been for previous Classic weekends, Jex said several of her customers mentioned that they liked the new schedule.
James Ferrara was working the cash register at his family-owned business, Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum.
The weekend was “so busy I didn’t notice the change,” he said. “We were swamped,” he added.
Retooled schedule doesn’t boost attendance
BY MARK BOSHNACK
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