In so­lar eclipse’s ‘path of to­tal­ity,’ sou­venir sales soar

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - RACHEL SPACEK

Ho­tels have been sold out for years. Eclipse view­ing glasses are back-or­dered on Ama­zon. Peo­ple are charg­ing thou­sands for a onenight stay in their homes. There are T-shirts, mugs, books, iPhone cases, pil­lows and leg­gings.

The Great So­lar Eclipse is com­ing, and there’s money to be made.

With more than 12 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing in the so-called path of to­tal­ity, and mil­lions more trav­el­ling to see the his­toric Aug. 21 so­lar eclipse, com­pa­nies and en­ter­pris­ing in­di­vid­u­als sense op­por­tu­nity.

“Of course peo­ple are tak­ing ad­van­tage,” said Jaci Hill, who is help­ing her mother rent her Idaho Springs, Colo., home on Airbnb for $1,000 on the night be­fore the eclipse. “It is def­i­nitely a sit­u­a­tion of sup­ply and de­mand.”

Econ­o­mists say it is dif­fi­cult to gauge how much rev­enue will be gen­er­ated from the eclipse, be­cause it is such a rare event — it’s the first to­tal so­lar eclipse to tra­verse Amer­ica in 99 years, and the first time the path of to­tal­ity will eclipse only over the con­tigu­ous U.S.

Cities from coast to coast are ex­pect­ing a wind­fall of busi­ness for ho­tels, res­tau­rants, gas sta­tions and re­tail­ers — even porta-potty ren­tal com­pa­nies.

Mer­chan­dise sales have been brisk on GreatAmer­i­canE­, said Polly White, the web­site’s busi­ness man­ager.

There are $20 glow-in-the-dark “Oc­cupy to­tal­ity!” T-shirts, an $8.95 pack of tem­po­rary tat­toos, a $6 em­broi­dered patch and a $3 lug­gage tag. All prices US.

The eclipse mar­ket is not only lim­ited to view­ing glasses and apparel. Frey Vine­yards in Red­wood Val­ley, Calif. — which isn’t even in the path of to­tal­ity — has re­leased an Eclipse 3-Pack Spe­cial that in­cludes a bot­tle of sparkling wine, a bot­tle of or­ganic Zinf an­del and a bot­tle of or­ganic Chardon­nay for $88.

“It is a tra­di­tion to pop a cork af­ter an eclipse that goes well,” says Jonathan Frey said.


Amer­i­can Pa­per Op­tics pes­i­dent John Jerit looks at a dis­play of so­lar eclipse glasses in Bartlett, Tenn. They’re ready for the Aug. 21 eclipse.

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