Papal revisit proves a bust for business

Associated Press


One grill owners spent $7,500 on food she couldn’t sell. A smoothie shop’s business was down some-more than 50 percent.

Even as hundreds of thousands of people alive a Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sunday for Mass with Pope Francis, his weekend revisit to Philadelphia apparently unsuccessful to broach a mercantile bonus likely by organizers.

Some businesses sealed early, downtown hotel bedrooms went unoccupied and routinely bustling city streets were forlorn over a weekend as residents possibly stayed home or left town, and pilgrims kept their wallets in their pockets.

At Midtown III restaurant, co-owner Vivian Tafuri rented a refrigerated truck, filled it with $7,500 value of food and spent another $1,000 on a parking space.

“It’s all wasted,” Tafuri fumed Sunday. “All a time a mayor was observant a million and a half people, and nothing. Wasted.”

Liz Furey, a barkeeper during a restaurant, pronounced a pope’s revisit chased divided a regulars.

“The people who are visiting are carrying a good time during a parkway. But as distant as a internal businesses were concerned, what we were betrothed didn’t occur during all,” Furey said.

The World Meeting of Families, a Vatican-sponsored discussion that drew Francis to Philadelphia, had estimated 1.5 million people would uncover adult for a pope’s weekend visit, with 10,000 staying overnight and business sales of $390 million.

Meryl Levitz, boss and arch executive of Visit Philadelphia, a categorical tourism selling agency, concurred Sunday that many shops and restaurants were spiteful for business. But that’s since a pilgrims went to Philadelphia to “be in a aura of a pope,” not to spend a lot of money, she said.

“To demeanour during a grassroots devout eventuality in terms of evident mercantile advantage is seeking too most of it,” she said.

City officials who for months had released apocalyptic warnings about prolonged walks and confidence lines to strech Pope Francis’ events recalibrated their summary final month amid fears they were scaring people away, rising an “I’ll be There” debate as good as a OpenInPhl hashtag for city businesses.

But their efforts came too little, too late for some merchants.

With sales down some-more than 50 percent, Robek’s, a extract and smoothie shop, motionless to tighten early Sunday.

Manager Dave Deener blamed a heated security, including petrify barriers and a car checkpoint circuitously a entrance. National Guard infantry and a military officer sat on folding chairs nearby.

“It’s awful. Everybody got frightened off since of a confidence detail,” he said.

“I have no problem with a pope being here,” Deener added. “It’s good for a city. It’s not good for business.”

Philly Cupcake went all out for Pope Francis’ visit, creation pope and Jesus cupcakes and plastering a windows with his picture. One window even had a large pointer display a pontiff holding a cupcake as if it were a communion wafer.

“A lot of people take cinema with it, though they don’t come in,” pronounced store associate Silvia Pulido.

The impact of a pope’s revisit on business was generally apparent Saturday night.

Center City hotel bedrooms went unfilled, and tables could be had during some of a city’s trendiest restaurants. On routinely bustling South Street, bars, restaurants, sneaker stores and fume shops — customarily filled on weekends with city residents, suburban gawkers and tourists — were empty.

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