N.H. businesses offer deals to campaigners

NASHUA In most places, showing a political campaign badge and a buck might get you a cup of coffee, except in Nashua, where businesses are offering out-of-state campaigners discounts on everything from coffee to hair cuts.

At more than 20 businesses, showing a campaign badge or out-of-state ID nets campaigners 15 percent off hair cuts, dry cleaning, meals, jewelry, clothing and gifts.

Sherrilyn Alden-Bellavance, owner of Ancient Moon, coordinated the effort to boost business.

"A lot of the people who volunteer for these campaigns give up their lives, their jobs, their apartments," said Alden-Bellavance, who plans to volunteer for Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign.

One Nashua business, Primary Enterprises LLC, depends entirely on the primary by selling products with a primary theme such as hats, T-shirts and bottled water.

The products feature a logo drawn by political cartoonist Dave Granlund, whose cartoons appear in several New Hampshire papers. They will be sold at political events and fundraisers. Walter Forrest, who came up with the idea, said he also can do custom orders, personalizing water bottle labels with a candidate's picture and slogan.

"This definitely has a finite window of opportunity. For me it's a side interest. It's not a full-time business," Forrest told The Telegraph.

Ben Dalianis, the city's acting economic development director, said area hotels are already booking rooms for the primary though Secretary of State William Gardner has not set a date for the contest.

The Democratic National Committee wants New Hampshire to hold its primary on Jan. 22, three days before caucuses in Nevada, but that's not likely to happen. Florida moved its date up to Jan., 29, moving ahead of a dozen other states with Feb. 5 contests.

Information from: The Telegraph, http://www.nashuatelegraph.com