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Some Eugene businesses are quiet despite World Athletics hype

Karen Richards

With international visitors in Eugene for Oregon22, some local retailers say business has been relatively slow.

Many downtown Eugene shopkeepers say they hoped for more customers this week. Andrew Agerter of Eugene Toy and Hobby told KLCC, “It’s been a little bit slower than we expected. A lot of the regulars, our regular traffic, haven’t been around as much.”

Agerter wondered if locals fear it’ll be too crowded downtown.

Melissa Brown co-owns Kiva Grocery. She’s happy she didn’t overstaff, which she’s done before. “It’s been a good summer and there are people around," she said. "But it hasn’t been massive waves of visitors.”

Owner John Hekimoglu of Electric Avenue Bikes has had better success, noting, “It’s been great to see people from all around the world. We are fully rented out almost every day, but we do it by the hour so there’s always a couple bikes sitting around that you can probably rent.”

Hekimoglu said when people take his bikes to the paths and riverfront, they’re impressed. Some have even said they’d like to move to Eugene.

Travel Lane County has noticed the lull in crowds. They’ve aired advertisements urging locals to get out and about this week, emphasizing that restaurants, entertainment and shopping are available and there’s capacity for everyone.

Karen Richards
John Hekimoglu

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.