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Local News

July 26, 2013

Merchants: Lack of HOF inductees hurts

"We're not sure what to expect. I would say we're not expecting much." -- Barry Renert, Seventh Inning Stretch manager

Some Main Street merchants are saying this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend will bring more business than a normal weekend, but less than a normal induction weekend. Beyond that, no one seems to have a solid prediction about this weekend’s crowds.

“We’re not sure what to expect,” said Barry Renert, manager of Seventh Inning Stretch. “I would say we’re not expecting much.”

With the Baseball Writers Association of America not picking anyone for the 2013 induction and no living inductees being honored, no one is expecting even an average year of 17,500 attendees. But midway through a summer of slow sales — and nearly everyone saying sales are down — any increase in weekend crowds will bring some relief to area merchants.

“We think it will be a bigger weekend than we have had thus far this year,” said Scott Morley, manager of Extra Innings, “but it is not going to be anything like induction weekend last year.”

“It really hurts to have no living inductees,” he continued. “Other years, you could build your inventory around a guy if he was going to be inducted. This year that is just not going to happen. We’ll probably be up 20 to 30 percent over normal, but usually this weekend is 100 percent over normal.”

Still Morley said he is grateful for any kind of big weekend. “On the other hand, it should be better than any other weekend so we’re still excited,” he said.

With paid parking, a lack of parking, the economy and the Furthur concert all competing for their share of local blame, merchants have been nearly unanimous in relating that business is down this summer.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame’s attendance is steadily decreasing, according to officials. But sitting nearly directly across Main Street from the Hall of Fame gives Morley a vantage point on summer attendance.

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