Don't tell the mainstream media outside Wilmington, but the local media there is giving Beck glowing reviews as he travels around the city using it as a model for recovering municipalities. And it seems his goal of boosting the local economy and bringing people together is working.
Here's how the local media is reporting on the visit (emphasis mine).
From Fox 19:
Local businesses say they are thrilled to have the extra attention and revenue. Many restaurants opened as early as 7:00 a.m. to serve coffee and breakfast. Food vendors are even braving the low temperatures to sell on the sidewalk and it's working.
Granny's Country Cupboard says it expects sales to increase by 90 percent.
"They just keep coming! They're hungry," says Donna Larson, owner of Granny's Country Cupboard and life time resident of Wilmington.
"I like seeing lots of people milling around Wilmington because when I grew up here, it was like this all the time...it makes me think about when I was younger and how this town was a booming little town and I think we're going be alright," says Larson.
Perhaps more importantly, they came in droves to heed Beck’s much needed advice: shop in Wilmington.
Local business owners reported earlier this week that their traffic, both in store and online, had surged since Beck announced on his show in November that he would come to Wilmington for a series of appearances.
As early as 7 a.m. on Wednesday, downtown Wilmington seemed bustling with guests. They peeked in store windows and carried bags of Christmas presents, defying the single digit temperatures.
“As soon as we opened our doors [at 9 a.m.] we had a steady stream of customers coming in from all over,” said Janine Sodini, owner of Traditions and Rome Jewelers in downtown Wilmington. “Everyone has been so nice. We are blessed to have this.”
Sodini said out-of-town customers have come into her store all week in anticipation of Wednesday’s “America’s First Christmas” event at the Murphy Theatre.
“We had a couple from Cincinnati here on Saturday who couldn’t make it to Beck’s show, so they said ‘We’re doing all of our shopping in Wilmington.’” [...]
“We’re here to pay it forward,” Ed [Gibson] said. “We’re paying for random people who are standing in line. If every other person did that for three people, there wouldn’t be anything left to sell in this town. If everyone, everywhere did it, we could fix this country.”
Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck visited Wilmington on Wednesday and brought a boon to the local economy with him. [...]
People like Jim Bujnak waited up to two hours to see Beck. Bujnak drove to Wilmington all the way from St. Louis. He called the trip a 70th birthday gift to himself.
"Six and a half hours, but that's what I wanted to do. We love Glenn Beck and now we love Wilmington," Bujnak said.
The book store's owner said that he has had people stopping by for about two weeks, letting him know they were buying the book early because they have heard Beck talk about Wilmington's struggles.
Because of all the buzz and business being drummed up by Beck's visit, the store has re-hired two workers it previously laid off, and the owner said he is allowing all his workers to put in as many hours as they want this week to help out.
"The downtown has geared up, everyone has stocked up, so the shelves are a little more full than they were. Not only in this store, but in other stores around town," employee Kathy Keltner said.
"We couldn't get here -- they were sold out, so we stayed in the Holiday Inn outside of town. But I haven't done any shopping yet, and I hope to leave lots of my money here," Sue Miller, from Arlington, Va., said.
"We're going to spend the whole day here, do some shopping, and just have fun - check out the town," Jody Porter, of Columbus, said.
On his TV show Wednesday night, Beck billed the visit as non-political, and even featured two local liberals who helped with the events.
Carousel picture courtesy of George Lange Photography.