Some businesses impacted with flood misconception - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Hannibal businesses impacted with flood misconception

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HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -

It happens frequently in Hannibal, but downtown store owners hate hearing the word "Flooding."  That's because while they're always open for business, tourists stay away, and it's having an impact on the economy already this Spring.

When the city puts in its flood gates, the downtown area is protected from the rising Mississippi.  But people who live outside the Tri-States hear flooding in Hannibal and assume the city is shut down.  Business owners along Main Street say that negative misconception is costing them money.

Mark Twain Museum Gift Shop is one of many businesses where owners say customers just aren't pouring into their stores.  They say that's because tourists think Hannibal is underwater.
"And I believe it was somewhere between one thousand and fifteen hundred, I don't remember exactly which, less visitors in April this year than what we had in 2012," said Mark Twain Gift Shop Manager Dena Ellis.   
And that's having an impact on how much they sell. The Executive Director of the Hannibal Chamber of Commerce McKenzie Disselhorst said she's been swamped with calls from people asking if it's ok to come to the city. 
"So there definitely is a perception that when the water levels rise, we may have an issue in Hannibal," Disselhorst said.  

And even though businesses are safe and dry, the Marketing Manager of the Mark Twain Museum Brenna McDermott said it's tough convincing potential visitors that's the case. 
"I think there are also people who are just decided not to pack up and come or maybe push off their visit until later this summer," she said. 
Steve Terry is Captain of the Mark Twain Riverboat.  Although the flood forced him to move locations, he's still cruising the river, but it's been tough getting passengers on board.

"It's the perception that flood gates are in so you're closed," he said. 

Terry said because people think he's closed, his business has been cut by about half.  He along with others say they've been trying to assure people they're still open by not only taking calls but by also posting their status on their web sites.  

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