By C.V. Moore
Businesses here are ready to welcome visitors, but so far the streets are quiet.
Traffic at the temporary welcome centers in Fayette County is also slow, according to the people staffing the tents.
“We are anxiously awaiting an upswing in business as a result of the Jamboree,” said Maura Kistler, co-owner of Waterstone Outdoors.
“We believe in the long-term benefits of the project but are beginning to wonder if the short-term benefits are going to be negligible, Kistler said.”
Down the street at Pies and Pints Pizzeria, manager Angie Bard says her business hasn’t increased much, despite her efforts to overstaff and place larger than typical food truck orders.
“We definitely over-prepared is how it seems so far,” she said. “We’re just kind of holding our breath waiting to see what happens.”
Some businesses are theorizing that their usual customers are staying home, scared off by predictions of traffic headaches.
“We think a lot of locals are staying in,” said Jennifer Salvatore of Wild Flour Bakery. She has spoken with a few tourists who have mentioned the Jamboree, but by and large, there’s not a lot of traffic in town.
“We have had minimal of our regular out-of-state climbers, bikers, and rafters this week,” said Cathedral Cafe owner Wendy Bayes. “They aren’t coming because of the predicted insane traffic, both highway-wise and consumer-wise.
“But I am hopeful that it will get better.”
Over the longer term, some restaurants have seen boosts from contractors who have built the Summit. And once the facility gets up and running on a more permanent basis, the economic effects could become more tangible.
“This is going to be a 365 (day), 24-7 facility. We won’t get there tomorrow but that’s what we want aspire to,” said Jack Furst, one of the visionaries behind the Summit.
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