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Businesses look to capitalize on President Obama’s OSU visit

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With President Barack Obama beginning his campaign at the Schottenstein Center Saturday, many businesses in the university area are looking to capitalize on the traffic flocking to see the nation’s leader.

“A presidential visit is beneficial to any business in the area,” said Lindsay Farkas, assistant manager at Roosters Wings at 3370 Olentangy River Road. “It should draw people into Columbus from all over Ohio, even other states.”

Rob Cohen, vice president of Conrads College Gifts at 316 W. Lane Ave., also said he believes the visit will provide an opportunity for local businesses to gain customers.

“It’s always exciting when the president comes,” Cohen said. “It is nice for people to be in the area, especially for small businesses.”

Jamie Gleason, shift supervisor at Panera Bread at 300 W. Lane Ave., said their restaurant is expecting an increase in business resulting from the presidential visit as well.

“We’re expecting more customers, and are boosting our products for the day,” Gleason said.

Gleason’s biggest concern with so many people being in the area would be the wait times for customers. However, she said they adjusted schedules and shifts to accommodate the expected rush hours.

“We will have more people on duty to work, so this won’t affect our wait times,” Gleason said.

Farkas said her staff at Roosters has planned ahead for the visit, and are prepared for whatever Obama’s visit brings.

“We are over-staffing a little bit,” Farkas said. “We can only have so many girls on at one time, but we’re definitely ready for after the event.”

While restaurants are geared up for the potential business the president could help herd into the university area, shops in the area aren’t as optimistic about a business increase.

“I’m not sure how much it will affect us,” Cohen said. “It’s nice for people to be in the area, I just don’t know how much business we will get because of it.”

Cohen did say he believes there are businesses that will do well on Saturday, specifically those involving food.

“More people will be at the restaurants then anything,” Cohen said. “I can’t see us being extra busy, I hope we are.”

Lucas Hammonds, a third-year in health sciences, said he thinks Obama’s visit should be beneficial to the university area as a whole.

“Obviously, it will bring plenty of people and attention to Columbus and Ohio State,” Hammonds said. “They will all be eating here, buying things and staying here if they are from out of town. It’s a great opportunity for a lot of businesses.”

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