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Fri., Aug. 1
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Waddington businesses see increase in tourist dollars

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WADDINGTON – Despite a tough economic climate, it has been a good summer so far for the community’s businesses.

Last weekend’s 37th Annual Homecoming saw more craft show vendors, events, bands, attendees and more tourist dollars spent than previous years.

“I had more visitors at the museum than I have had the last three or four years,” said E. Jane Layo, village historian and director of the Moore Museum and Research Center.

Homecoming coordinator Nancy M. Putney-Ferency said that the event has expanded significantly over the past few years.

“The craft show vendors said they all did great, and I was happy to hear that,” Mrs. Putney-Ferency said. “I had a lot of repeat vendors, but I had to turn some people away because I couldn’t get any more space.”

In addition to Homecoming’s vendors, many businesses reported to the Chamber of Commerce that overall revenue has increased from last year’s celebration.

Mrs. Putney-Ferency said while there is no way to quantify the total revenue from all the businesses this year, most businesses have reported a positive feedback.

“Responses are still coming in,” said Mrs. Putney-Ferency.

Mack’s Tavern owner George Ruddy and Waddington True Value and Building Supply owner Karen L. Thew said they each saw increases in revenue Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, as well as the weekend.

“Everybody comes home all week,” said Ms. Thew. “Numbers and traffic are definitely up from last year, but I couldn’t say by how much.”

Saturday’s parade offered an opportunity for many business owners to market their wares, including Waddington Blooms owner Christina Domena.

“We blew up a lot of balloons,” said Mrs. Domena. “Flowers aren’t a much-needed item during Homecoming. We have a lot of fun, though. The parade is always fun to take part in.”

“It’s free advertising, and you let people know or remind them what your business has to offer,” said Ms. Putney-Ferency. “Our goal is to get the word out about local businesses, which is why the Chamber has been vitally important in helping to Homecoming going all these years.”

Artworks Creperie, Gallery, Gift Shop and Café Owner Mark Scott said business during Homecoming “was more than double” the normal volume. He said he his business was looking forward to the St. Lawrence County Junior Carp Tournament in two weeks.

Though the tournament runs a 30-mile stretch from Ogdensburg to Massena, the event will be headquartered in Waddington. Over 100 kids from throughout the state are already registered, said St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Tourism, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator Alison Power.

And since it’s the 10th annual tournament, the county Chamber has planned festivities in Whittaker Park in Waddington for opening night, including fireworks, which officials say will draw an even bigger crowd.

“Every time there is an influx of people from the area, there is an influx in dollars,” county Chamber Executive Director Patricia L. McKeown said.

Overall, Mrs. Putney-Ferency has said that it’s been an exceptional summer for the community.

“These events help get Waddington’s name out there,” she said. “Even if people have never been to Waddington, those from Potsdam or other areas around visit Waddington and see what a beautiful, well-kept community it is and end up coming back to visit.”

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