Mixed Feelings About Oprahpalooza: Local Biz

"Traffic has been kind of stagnant"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Marcus Riley
    Local businesses are split on whether Oprahpalooza will be good for sales.

    With just a few hours until Oprahpalooza officially begins, stores along Michigan Avenue have mixed feelings on how the huge celebration has affected business.

    "It's kind of a spectacle down here," said Lanell White, an assistant manager of Nokia on Michigan Avenue, before adding "traffic has been kind of stagnant."

    White and his street team have lined the streets, hoping to draw in customers.

    Other store managers say Oprah's party can only be good for sales and for Chicago in general.

    Mayor Daley Defends Oprahpalooza

    [CHI] Mayor Daley Defends Oprahpalooza
    "I've talked to other mayors that would do anything to get the Oprah studio and show there. They'll do anything. They'll shut the whole city down for them," Mayor Richard Daley said.

    "It's always good to have events downtown," said Bill Sianis, manager of the Billy Goat Tavern. "I think it's great for Chicago because it's shown all over the world."

    As for other businesses, many said they have been seeing the same local traffic, but that they expect much larger crowds after the taping of the show is completed around 7 p.m.

    "It's been kind of inconvenient because they won't really let the crowds out to go back and forth," said Cierra Luckett, a manager of Starbucks. 

    Luckett added that many of the customers seem to have planned ahead, and look like they're in good spirits.

    According to John Chikow, president and CEO for the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, not one of the 110 GNMAA member businesses has called to complain about shutting down parts of the street.

    Several stores said they were predicting an "Opera rush," but the business has yet to materialize, according to Chicago Breaking News.

    At this point, said Sean White, manager of Walgreens, the best that Magnificent Mile businesses can do is be prepared.

    "Our plan is to expect the unexpected," he said.

    NBCChicago's streaming Oprahpalooza live, check it out!