Big E cancellation leaves many local businesses struggling to stay afloat

Hampden County

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Friday would typically be the first day of The Big E, but as we know, it was canceled out of COVID-19 safety concerns.

Typically we would barely be able to stand here with all the crowds of people, but with the fair canceled, it’s a much different scene and local businesses, such as Memo’s Restaurant are feeling the impact.

Memo’s owner Dominic Pompi told 22News, “You really can’t make up for the loss of The Big E, you can never make it up. You just go on and do the best you can.”

Doing the best they can is what many local businesses are trying to do, not only due to the pandemic but in West Springfield, the loss of The Big E is finally hitting restaurants on the first day the fair was scheduled to take place.

Pompi added, “We just go on and do the best with our regular business.”

But, Memo’s in West Springfield says they’re missing their annual acquaintances they’ve relied on for almost two decades. Many visitors of the Big E then go to Local businesses after the making up a lot of the revenue for restaurants such as Memo’s who’ve lost some of that money due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Big loss in sales. You know we see all our old friends year after year. We got a lot of phone calls “We’re not coming this year,” said Pompi. “Before the Big E was even canceled because of the whole COVID. Hopefully, we get things back on track and get going again next year.”

Eastern States Exposition President, Gene Cassidy told 22News that the pandemic has hurt many local business owners and dampened the local economy.

“COVID is crushing the economy, it’s crushing people’s lives. You may not be infected with the bug, but you are going to be affected financially,” said Cassidy

A financial loss, many are hoping to make back once the fairgrounds open again next year. Memo’s says they hope to see some extra customers from the Big E’s food drive-thru starting September 22.

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