A few weeks ago I spent a day in Atlantic City working on a story about the impact of high gas prices and reduced consumer spending on a tourist destination like AC. I met with officials at the Borgata hotel and casino and the Atlantic City Convention Center. I also wandered the boardwalk, where I spoke with tourists and met Jim McClean, a souvenir shop owner who's having his worst season in 37 years.
NPR ran the story this morning, and you can listen online. I feel like I might have tried to cram a few too many things into one story, but there were just so many interesting angles to follow.
I feel like I cold have dedicated a whole report just to McClean. He used to have four employees. Now he's manning the store by himself. His shop is the kind of store that opens right up onto the boardwalk. You can walk in and out through the large front doors and since he puts some of his merchandise in front of the shop, the line between the end of the boardwalk and the beginning of the shop is blurry. It used to take several people just to keep an eye on the merchandise and make sure nobody walks off with it, he said. But now there are so few customers, he has no problem keeping track of everyone in the store on his own.
image credit: j klo