Never mind the temporary inconveniences. The 68,000 out-of-town guests who converge on Washington this weekend for President-elect Ronald Reagan's inauguration are expected to spend $32 million for the four-day celebration.
And that does not include the cost of tickets for dozens of functions.
Presidential inaugurations are more than a quadrennial ritual in Washington; they are a financial windfall for the area's economy, and just about everyone gets a share of the action.
Food and beverage wholesalers, restaurants, hotels, taxi and limousine services, charter bus companies and a host of other service-related businesses have responded to expected demand for their services this week in a flurry of activity.
Additional workers have been hired, hotel room services will operate around the clock. Food is being stockpiled, in some instances two to three times the amount of perishable goods otherwise on hand.
"This four-day period of activities will probably generate a 50-to-60 percent increase over the normal amount of business for this time of year," said Austin Kenny, executive vice president of the Washington Convention and Visitors Association.
His projections are based on spending estimates for convention delegates and Kenny believes that inaugural celebrants will spend roughly the same amounts, if not more.
"For the average four-day stay, the $500 per person that inaugural guests will probably spend will, because of an economic multiplier effect, generate about $1,300 to $1,500 worth of business activity," Kenny said. "Their money will pay for hotel rooms, then the hotels will pay employes and suppliers, the suppliers will take the money and pay their employes and on and on."
Some of the money has already reached 42-year-old John Davis, a Northeast Washington resident who works at William Mailley's wholesale produce company, one of the three largest in the area. As he worked the forklift in Mailley's warehouse, Davis, warehouse supervisor and father of two, said increased orders from restaurants and catering firms have doubled his workload the past week.
"I've been working about four hours overtime this week and I'm going to use all the money to pay bills," Davis said, moving carrots, cabbage, tomatoes and other perishables. When prepared in succulent dishes, they will grace the tables of guests invited to $50-per-person candlelight dinners, cocktail parties and receptions next week.
His ski-capped coworker, Joe Scott, 68, juggled a case of strawberries on his shoulder and proudly showed a visitor the stockpiles of produce crated and ready for the celebration.
"We got corn, fresh corn, above your head; we got whole peeled potatoes ready to fix as soon as they hit the kitchen, we got cantaloupe and avocadoes from California, watermelons from Mexico and kiwifruit from New Zealand," Scott beamed.
Mailley, a Washington produce distributor for 30 years, said orders this week and next are expected to increase at least 50 percent above normal, from about $85,000 worth of business to $125,000. He said he has hired three extra workers and now works his men an average of four hours overtime a day.
"We really needed this kind of business activity," Mailley said. "This has been a very, very poor fall and winter. We've had the same number of customers, but their orders were smaller. It's a reflection of the times."
Carl Longley, spokesman for B and B Catering, said catering business generated by inaugural parties and activities has doubled the amount of business his firm normally does in January. B and B will provide catering for 24 inaugural-related functions, a nd will employ 240 extra people during Jan. 19 and 20 to work at functions at which an estimated 1,200 bottles of liquor will be consumed, he said.
Liquor wholesalers, meanwhile, say festivities will double their normal January business. Irving Falk, sales manager of Milton S. Kronheim & Co, Inc., said much of their additional orders are for wine and champagne, "since this administration is wine-oriented, coming from California."
Falk's firm will deliver 1,200 cases -- 14,400 bottles retailing at $8.95 each -- Almaden Blanc de Blanc (white on white) champagne. The champagne, designated as the official champagne of the inauguration by the inaugural committee, was donated by Almaden Wineries in California.
Hotel bars and lounges ar expected to do a booming liquor business as Washington area hotels prepare for near capacity crowds.
Leonard Hickman, of the Washington Hotel Association said President Jimmy Carter's four-day inaugural celebration filled about 88 percent of the Washington area's 35,000 hotel rooms, and expects about the same occupancy rate or higher for Reagan's. Last year during the same time period, only 53 percent of the rooms were occupied.
Charter bus companies negotiating contracts with the inaugural committee to transport guests to and from functions and their hotels, say business is heavy and cab drivers expect the same. "If the buses don't take over, we're going to do all right," said D.C. (Mack) McMillan, a Dupont Cab driver and Takoma Park resident.