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Massena’s lock gift shop opens for season

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MASSENA — The Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce’s gift shop at Eisenhower Lock is open for the season.

It’s just a little harder to see than it has been in past years because of construction.

Chamber Associate Director Penny Pullmain told chamber board members during their recent meeting that chamber Director Kathleen Kelly-Ori has put out signs to indicate that the store is open.

The shop is getting well-stocked for the summer, according to Ms. Pullmain.

“We’re getting some different things,” she said.

The shop is open seven days a week until the lock closes over Labor Day weekend in September. It sells local memorabilia and snacks, as well as provides information about the area. Employees who staff the gift shop are paid for through casino gaming compact funds provided by the town of Massena.

The chamber opted not to open the store last year because the locks did not open on schedule. Eisenhower Lock typically opens for the season during the Memorial Day weekend at the end of May, and the season runs until Labor Day. But because of on-going facility maintenance to repair damages caused by winter weather, it did not open until the end of June last summer.

Ms. Pullmain also reported on the recent Heritage Festival, noting that the number of visitors was down.

“We did not do as well as we normally do. ... It was a big crowd, but not as big” as in past years, she said.

Ms. Pullmain said other activities taking place the same day and the weather, which was conducive to outdoor activities, contributed to the decrease in attendance.

“The weather hurt us. We need a cloudy day with that threat of rain,” she said.

The number of vendors, meanwhile, stayed steady, and they had some new people on hand, she said.

Mrs. Pullmain suggested that the chamber might consider some changes to the event in the future.

Board President Miriam S. Catapano agreed. “It has changed over the years. Maybe it needs to evolve again,” she said.

Mrs. Catapano suggested that they look at their entertainment offerings.

“I think we have to look at some of the entertainment. In the past it has drawn people,” she said.

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