EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – After 17 successful years with his butcher shop in East Palestine, Duane Doyle decided a couple of years ago he wanted to retire. He found a buyer in January and then that train derailed February 3 and his buyer backed out.
Since that night, his business has suffered — down about a third from what he thinks it could have been. Doyle blames negative coverage of the area following the train wreck.
“People that aren’t from the area are only going by what they’re hearing and they are scared. They’re hesitant,” Doyle said.
Across town, the high school athletic program has been struggling to attract teams and fans to its track and field events, which officials claim bring in just as much in the spring as football does in the fall.
“We’re about 55% of teams that traditionally come here that are choosing to go to other places because of fear mongering,” said East Palestine Athletic Director Dwayne Pavkovich.
One of the biggest hurdles facing the district is countering what others outside the area see or hear online.
Its cost the district about $75,000 in revenue, so far.
“We ask that we try to vet them better and try to look more at the experts and what the experts are saying,” Pavkovich said.
While the district looks for ways to offset the losses without having to cut programs, Doyle says he’s still going to retire and put his store on the auction block next month.
“It’ll be an absolute sale, so somebody has the opportunity to buy themself a business and a very good livelihood,” Doyle said.
Hoping the rest of this community can turn around as well.