End of shutdown in West Branch, but slow rebound - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

End of shutdown in West Branch, but slow rebound

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WEST BRANCH (KWWL) -
The first day of the federal shutdown, Reid's Beans Coffee Shoppe Cafe in West Branch saw a 75 percent decrease in customers.

By the end of the week things had leveled off a little bit -- they were only down 50 percent. Now that the shutdown is over, they've seen a slight rebound.

"I can already see signs of it changing," said Laura Rierson, co-owner. "My volume on my Facebook page or my email and telephone calls today."

The cafe relies on visitors to the nearby Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. When the federal shutdown began Oct. 1, the museum closed and that meant fewer people visiting West Branch.  That's already changing.

"It's a sense of relief," said Rierson. 

Museum employees were eager to get back to work.

"This was all a surprise," said Tom Schwartz, Director.  "For most of us, we didn't anticipate the shutdown and for it to last as long as it did."

The museum re-opened at 9 a.m. Thursday to a slow start. Attendance was only in the double digits, not the stream of hundreds that usually visit in a day.

The end of the shutdown means the museum can still hold its Hoover Gravesite Ceremony Sunday, marking the anniversary of Hoover's death.

"It is just a proper way to commemorate a life well lived," said Schwartz.

The event isn't completely escaping the shutdown. The speakers and concert that were supposed to be a part of the celebration have been postponed.

As the museum continues to recover from weeks of being closed, so will businesses in town. Owners at the cafe and officials over at the museum think things will be back to normal early next week, once some of those schools and other groups that had to cancel their trips during the shutdown are able to re-schedule.

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