DC Retailers Report Inauguration Boom

NEW YORK — They came, they celebrated, they shopped.

The millions of people who swarmed the nation’s capital last week for President Barack Obama’s inauguration helped give retailers in the area a much-needed boost in sales during the tough economic period.

Kevin Powers, owner of Carbon, located between the Georgetown area and Midtown, said he saw a definite bump in business. “I have two hotels next to me, so I’ve seen an additional 10 to 20 percent of people coming through the store,” Powers said.

John Shaffer, manager of ShoeFly, which has a location in Arlington, Va., said he was much busier than usual for this time of year. “Shoppers were easygoing and seemed like they were in pretty good moods,” he said.

To prepare for the inaugural events, Shaffer stocked dressier shoes, which sold very well. “We did a lot of business, especially with all the balls,” he said.

Inaugural-inspired window displays also helped to draw ballgoers into stores. Janie Griffin, co-owner of Little Shoe Box in Bethesda, Md., displayed dress shoes and handbags in her store’s front window. “Business was great for those of us who had dressy [product],” she said. “People were in to shop for the inaugural galas.”

Griffin hopes the optimism surrounding the new administration will continue to benefit the city. “All of us are very hopeful that the new administration and the new influx of people moving to Washington, D.C., will patronize our establishments,” she said.

Nancy Pearlstein, owner of Relish, located in the Georgetown area, is unsure of what business will be like going forward, but she remains positive. “Everybody is excited for the change,” she said. “The new administration has a younger and less traditional aspect to them, so hopefully that will resonate among us retailers.”�

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