Crime doesn't pay, at least not for everybody in the county seat.
With two major trials happening in their midst, Bellefonte businesses are seeing mixed results in terms of customer activity.
Some restaurants -- such as Cool Beans and the Diamond Deli -- are doing a brisk business, while others -- including Jim's Italian Cuisine -- haven't fared as well and their owners wish the trials were over.
Retailers at locations such as Plumb's Drug Store and Children'z Clothing Plus say traffic is slow, while Confer's Jewelers was busy on Tuesday -- just yards from the courthouse and annex where the Jerry Sandusky trial and a major robbery case were playing out.
"Anytime people are afraid they won't find parking, things are slow," Brenda Confer said at the jewelry shop at the corner of High and Allegheny streets, as large media trucks idled just outside her door.
Confer said she posted a notice on her store's Facebook page letting customers know they should come in.
"I think some of the businesses are doing well," she said. "There are always pluses and minuses." Business was good at Cool Beans, where owner Wendy Fultz offers a selection of coffees and treats -- and Wi-Fi service.
"We've been swamped," she said. Diamond Deli owner Arlene Milton said she's served tons of sandwiches in recent days to regular customers and visiting media alike.
"Business has been good, and the people have been nice," Milton said. Over on Cherry Lane, just a half-block from the courthouse, Jim Boscaino was seeing solid take-out business during Tuesday's lunch period, but many of the tables at Jim's Italian Cuisine were empty. He posted a sign near the back of the courthouse on High Street inviting media covering the Sandusky trial to visit his restaurant, with few takers.
"Right now, my lunches are way down from where they would be if we weren't having this trial," Boscaino said. "My regular customers who do come in say, 'We thought it would be crazy here.' But the opposite is true. It's starting to pick up, but it's nothing like it normally would be."
Endi Liu, of Bellefonte Wok, said they were busier for the Bellefonte Cruise but he can't complain. That wasn't the case for Deb McAfee, in Plumb's card shop on Allegheny Street, who said business is "dead."
She added that the trial "killed Father's Day. ... I'm glad it's happening at the time of year when we're typically slow anyway. But not this slow."
At the Victorian Rose specialty shop a few blocks south on Allegheny, owner Carol Walker said she has been lucky to get two or three customers in a day, when she would normally see 20 or 30.
"Typically in June we would have a lot of people in town, asking about the restaurants, where to shop, where they can see the Victorian homes. That's not happening," Walker said. "The signs entering town tell everybody it's going to be congested."
Across the street at Children'z Clothing Plus consignment shop, co-owner Ed Emel posted a sign on the sidewalk urging passers-by to "Come In -- Something for Everyone." But few were crossing the threshold at midday Tuesday.
"I'd usually have more people coming in and out, more of a flow," Emel said. "But I see that there is parking available. That shouldn't be keeping them out."
It's not a lack of parking, but rather a perception that there's limited parking, that concerns Walker. "We want to encourage people to come downtown," she said. "There is parking. You can get around." Her message to her customers: "Don't stay away."
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