Monday afternoon crowds gathered outside the Schwartz Center in anticipation of the presidential nominee's speech. People from all over came to downtown Wilmington to hear John McCain speak. With lines stretching for blocks, there were crowds all over potentially impacting local businesses in the downtown area. Jim Hearn is a local resident. He decided to take advantage of his trip Monday. “Well I came down to see McCain and we stopped off at the Cotton Exchange and bought some jewelry.” Employees of the T.S. Brown Jewelry store said Hearn is not alone. They said the crowds that came to see McCain spilled over into their store. “Actually I was speaking with the other people in the store and we have noticed a moderate increase in traffic so I guess it is bringing with it a few extra people. Hopefully that will be good for business,” said Victoria James of T.S. Brown Jewelry. Not all businesses saw the same increase. Erin Yates at Java Dog said the speech may have kept some of her regulars away. “There's been a lot of complaints about the parking over at the college today because it's been blocked,” Yates said. Even those attending the event who wanted to shop say they were too worried about getting a seat to visit downtown businesses. “Well we're a bit limited by the lines today. We didn't want to lose our place so we didn't venture out,” said Joe McAlear of northern Virginia. While the speech may have kept some people away during the day, other vendors hope business will increase now that it is over. While many shops reported an increase in traffic today, some store owners said they did not know whether it was due to McCain's speech or the Columbus Day holiday.
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