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Mugs and Motors Hopes To Rev Up Oswego Business District

OSWEGO, NY – A downtown Oswego businesswoman is looking to rev up business this summer.

At Monday night’s meeting of the Physical Services Committee, Anne Backer, owner of Taste The World Specialty Coffee in the Canal Commons requested approval to close West First Street between Bridge and Oneida streets on Sunday afternoons from June 15 to August 31.

She is planning an event, Mugs and Motors, to help bring more people downtown on Sundays.

“I am constantly working with other business owners in trying to find a way to help rejuvenate the downtown area and bring more business into the area,” she said.

Her father instilled in her a love of automobiles and, she said, it would be nice to use the West First Street area to host a social gathering of car enthuisasts on Sunday afternoons.

“Currently, that block, the west side of it, every single business is closed on Sundays except Wayne’s Drug Store, which closes at 1 p.m. They were concerned that the show might infringe on their customers being able to come and go. That’s why we chose the start time of 1 p.m. (until 4 p.m.),” she said.

Just about all the business owners on the other side of the street felt the event wouldn’t negatively impact their business, she said.

“What this would be basically is just a very informal social gathering of anybody with cars, new and old. If they want to come down and park them and just hang out for a few hours and visit that would be great. I do plan to bring in some local entertainers for some music and maybe some artists to work on doing some sidewalk chalk art during the event so there are lots of things going on,” Backer said. “The whole reason is to bring people downtown on Sundays when typically that area is like a ghost town.”

The Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce is working with her as a co-sponsor of the event.

And, they will provide insurance coverage under the blanket rider that they already have, she said.

If the event is successful and continues to grow, there are plans to add a flea market area or antique show on the Civic Plaza street, she added.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said committee chair Mike Myers. “It’s another day here in the city where people can go and enjoy something. We need more of that.”

Backer has a group volunteers who will clean up after each week’s event, she said, adding “That’s one thing I’m a stickler about.”

“You’ve taken every Sunday in the summer of 2014. And next year when people see how well this works, you’re going to have competition for those dates,” Council President Ron Kaplewicz pointed out.

The committee gave the request a favorable recommendation.