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Obama’s second inauguration brings a yawning gap in business
International Limousine Service, based in the District, expects only about half as much business as four years ago. In 2009, Mr. Kane rented an additional 70 limousines to meet demand, but this time he is renting about 30 to 40 more vehicles.
“The same number of people aren’t going to come,” he said.
Robert Alexander, president and CEO of RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation, expects about a 50 percent decrease in business for his Rockville-based limousine company.
“It’s a good inauguration, but nothing crazy,” he said. “The second inauguration is never as good for any president, but the first inauguration was just so much more monumental and historic than most others.”
In 2009, “car after car after car” were booked, Mr. Alexander recalled, but this time around, “we expect our revenues will be significantly lower.”
When it comes to tuxedo rentals and sales, Men’s Wearhouse is also noticing a difference from 2009, as the company waits for business to pick up in the last few days before the inauguration. “The only thing I would attribute it to is maybe the historical significance of the last inauguration,” said Dino Speranza, executive vice president of stores for Men’s Wearhouse Inc.
That is not to say that business will be bad. Many companies are happy with the uptick in sales as a result of the second inauguration, even if it doesn’t reach the level of 2009.
“I’m a rainy optimist,” Mr. Alexander said. The bottom line is that tourists will need help getting around Washington, and that means more business than usual for limousines and taxis.
“When an event like this happens, there really is a need for transportation,” said Diane Forgy, president of the National Limousine Association. “So, in some ways, people may curtail some of what they would have done four years ago, but they are still going to need transportation and the demand’s going to be high.”
Many restaurant have stopped taking reservations because they have been “bought out” for private parties, according to the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
Simply put: “If there was not an inauguration, we would have less business,” said Ridgewells’ Ms. Lacz. “A regular week in January is slow around here, but with an inauguration there’s plenty of business to go around.”
Melissa Zeligman, marketing director at the Catering Company of Washington, couldn’t agree more.
“We’re just getting past Christmas and New Year’s, and once every four years it’s like we get an extra holiday season,” she said.
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About the Author
Tim Devaney is a national reporter who covers business and international trade for The Washington Times. Previously, he worked for the Detroit News, Grand Rapids Press, Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News. Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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