Tisbury’s Main Street rolls out the presidential welcome mat

Heather Kochin, owner of Rainy Day, models a colorful tote bag featuring First Lady Michelle Obama that is selling fast in her store this week. — Photo by Janet Hefler

Several Vineyard Haven Main Street merchants said yesterday they are more excited about President Barack Obama’s Vineyard stay than their customers.

As has been the Mansion House Inn’s tradition since 2009, co-owners Susan and Sherm Goldstein put up a sign to welcome the president on the outside of the hotel at the corner of Main Street and State Road.

About half of the hotel’s guests this week are associated with the president’s visit, Ms. Goldstein said. “It’s really been fun for me as a hotel manager to be around them, although they all use acronyms that I can’t figure out, ” she said.

Next door, at the shop Madame Falgoux, A Vineyard Collective, owner Andrea Hirt said with firm conviction, “I am going to meet the president this year.” Since she offers tarot card readings, The Times asked if the cards foretold her of a potential visit. “I’ve been doing a lot of readings, but I don’t read the cards for myself,” Ms. Hirt said with a laugh.

The response to the First Family’s visit from Main Street merchants is more low-key this year than in the past, with fewer signs and Obama-themed merchandise.

At Rainy Day, however, a brightly-colored tote bag featuring a picture of First Lady Michelle Obama is the centerpiece of an eye-catching window display. Owner Heather Kochin said she sold the five she had in one hour last weekend and ordered 18 more from the Blue Q Company in Pittsfield, which arrived yesterday.

Around the corner at the Free Bird Market, owner Ashley Gilbert set up a sidewalk sandwich board to welcome President Obama, just in case he comes by. Whether he does or not, though, Ms. Gilbert said his visit serves as a reminder to Islanders that they live in a special place.