US & World

Inaugural ceremonies present big opportunity for vendors

Along with tradition, ceremony, and solemnity, KPCC's Brian Watt says there's a lot of Barack Obama commerce in the nation's capital.

Brian Watt: The open-air Eastern Market on Capitol Hill has transformed into a "Yes-We-Candy-Land." Metalsmith Tim Giles ran down the inventory he drove up from Atlanta to sell.

Tim Giles: We have thermals, polo shirts with thermal sleeves. We have the watches. Obama hats, calendars, commemorative plates. Every shirt there is, short sleeve, long sleeve. And we actually have commissioned someone to do some Obama earrings for us.
Watt: And how much are those?
Giles: Um, they range from 65 to 85.

Tashima Maldonado: We have political paper dolls here. We have Michelle and Barack. And then we have Jill Biden and Joe Biden. And then we have Palin as well, which was our first paper doll. And she was created over a couple cocktails.

Watt: That's Tashima Maldonado. Usually she works as a skin care specialist, but that Sarah Palin paper doll with interchangeable outfits has brought in some big bucks – and paved the way for paper cutout Obamas and Bidens.

Maldonado: We were able to afford to be able to afford to create the rest of our paper dolls by selling Palin, so we always kept her onboard.

Watt: Perhaps the simplest and most useful souvenir comes free with a trip on Washington's public transit system. It's a farecard that displays a smiling black-and-white photo of Barack Obama.