Monday, July 28, 2014

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Phish concert boosts local economy

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Phish concert boosts local economy
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With Phish in town, the extra 30,000 people who came to see the band amplified sales in Watkins Glen. Our Bill Mich spoke with some local businesses to see just how much of an economic impact the fans of the famous jam band brought to the village

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- If you are going to spend the entire weekend outside rocking out to Phish at Watkins Glen International, you need a few supplies. One store in Watkins Glen selling those supplies made a killing over the weekend.

"Tents and camping gear and warm weather clothing. I think some of the people weren't prepared for how cool it gets here in the evenings," said Steve Schmidt of "Famous Brands."

In between camping and the seven sets that the jam band played at the Glen, Phish fans needed something to do. And shopping in downtown Watkins Glen was a popular option.

"Definitely better than year's past. Reviewing sales here over the first two days, we certainly had an increase in business," Schmidt said.

But not all of those 30,000 people were camping, so they needed a place to stay. Owning a motel in Watkins Glen made this holiday weekend stand out from the rest.

"Bigger, bigger for us because most of them stayed for four days. Normal 4th of July you either get three days, two days, stuff like that," said Chris Franzese, the owner of the Villager Motel.

The streets and sidewalks were constantly full of cars and people. Tables quickly filled up at every restaurant in town. While the workload was certainly increased for local businesses, they would welcome back the crowds any time.

"I think it would be a marvelous idea. I'd love to see more concerts like this. Love to see Phish come back," said Louise O'Shaughnessy, the owner of O'Shaughnessy Antiques.

"We certainly welcome everyone back and hopefully even larger crowds in the years to follow," Schmidt said.

Until that day, local businesses can reap the rewards that Phish and SuperBall IX brought to the area.

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