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article imageBrooklyn business owners anticipate a major arrival

By Nathan Salant     Apr 6, 2015 in Business
New York - Anyone who's ever been in a city that gets a visit from the president or another major dignitary knows just what it's like: crowded streets, restricted parking, jammed restaurants.
Businesses in the Brooklyn Heights section of the trendy New York city borough of Brooklyn can't wait.
“We’re going to have a lot less parking spaces, which we already won’t have,” Estela Johannesen, a florist, said as she anticipated the constant crush of campaign workers, news reporters and security officers.
The cause of all the concern made national headlines the past few days: former first lady Hillary Clinton, the last secretary of state under U.S. President Barack Obama and the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, recently announced a Brooklyn Heights location for her national campaign office.
Clinton, 67, who lost a bruising nomination battle to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in 2008 but went on to play a major role in his administration, plans to rent two floors of an office building at One Pierrepont Plaza for her campaign staff, according to the New York Times newspaper.
Even in crowded Brooklyn, the most crowded of New York City's five boroughs with 2.6 million residents, the coming of a political superstar is a topic of much discussion for area businesses.
Carlo Scissura of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce told the Times that he was putting together a list of local stationery stores, pet walkers and eyeglass shops, trying to anticipate campaigners' every need.
“And dentists,” he said. “I’ve worked on enough campaigns to know there’s a lot of garbage being eaten; dentists will be doing well.”
Alfred Tom of The Heights Salon suggested an "update" to Clinton's often-criticized hairstyle, but said what his place offered was discretion.
"In this place, we discourage gossip," Tom said.
"That's why our clients love us," he said.
Other store owners also stressed that their best characteristic was the one that should warm the heart of any prospective office seeker, the Times said.
"We keep secrets," said Steven Kang, manager of Best Cleaners on Henry Street.
Of course, Kang said he offered fast, "nontoxic treatment" to campaign workers who need clothes cleaned.
Edward Shamalov, owner of Azzuro Shoe Repair and Shine at -- appropriately enough, 104 Clinton St. -- said he was could deliver "emergency service" in the event of a footwear emergency.
“We do broken heels,” Shamalov said.
“Even if their button has fallen off, I can put it on -- all while you wait,” he said.
At nearby Jack the Horse Tavern, billed as "the serious end of cocktails," owner Tim Oltmans said he and his wife had already discussed whether to address Clinton as Secretary Clinton or Senator Clinton when she comes through the door.
“My bookkeeper said call her Hillary,” he said with a laugh.
“I’m not sure that’s quite right,” he said.
Many shopkeepers took pride in their neighborhood's serious reputation as opposed to other parts of Brooklyn that cater to the post-college, hipster crowd, the Times said.
But none of the posturing takes the place of real, one-on-one contact.
Tom showed a ring that marked his 10-year anniversary with his partner, fellow hairstylist Rafael Nieves, and recalled the day he met Clinton at a gay pride parade in Manhattan.
“She came right up to me,” Tom said.
“She shook my hand.”
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