News / USA

Souvenir Shops Gear Up for Inauguration

Souvenir Shops Prep for 2nd Obama Inaugurationi
X
January 14, 2013 6:30 PM
The inauguration of America’s first black president was a huge boon to Washington souvenir stores. But it’s a challenge for them to ring up that same volume of sales for President Barack Obama’s second term. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti reports.

Souvenir Shops Prep for 2nd Obama Inauguration

Souvenir shops in the nation's capital are gearing up for President Barack Obama's second inauguration on Monday, Jan. 21.

Stores around Washington, D.C., expect it to be the second largest inauguration in history, second only to Mr. Obama’s first one.

One souvenir shop, conveniently named White House Gifts, offers free photos -with any purchase- in an Oval Office replica. But this week the Oval Office set will be moved out to make room for more keepsake-hunting tourists.

People like customer Karen Smeltzer, who says she'll spend $3500 on a hotel, food and gifts. “I think the second term is just as important, if not more important than the first term, because he was re-elected as our president.”

General Manager Andy Gallagher oversees what he says it the largest souvenir warehouse in Washington. It's full of inauguration-themed items like candy, snow globes, bobble heads, key chains, coins, toys, plates, hats, mugs and lots of t-shirts.

Preparations for the inauguration began election night. Just after 11 p.m., Gallagher says he called his vendors and said, “'It’s Obama and Biden. Start printing,' and we had the full set up the following morning when we opened the stores.”  

Then, they hired "Bertha," a custom-made electric cart which maneuvers through downtown Washington and delivers merchandise to the company's retail stores. Bertha beats any car stuck in rush hour traffic.

But sales aren’t up at the sidewalk vendors. The DC government says fewer than one-fourth of them applied for an inaugural permit this time.

But for others, an inauguration holds promise.  

“Twice as nice, only because he won twice, you know?” says Domingo Canate, who designed his own inaugural shirt and is hawking it to stores. "America’s all about opportunities and creating opportunities for oneself, and this inauguration is an ideal opportunity to create a business around a shirt.”

All aimed at commemorating a day which will make history as the president is sworn in for a second term.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid