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Lafern Love, 45, a psychotherapist from Peeksill N.Y., sells inauguration pins designed by a college friend Jan. 21 in Washington. / Eliza Collins, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - Donald Hatley came all the way from Chicago to hawk his inaugural wares.

He found a good spot Monday on the east side of the Capitol, along with a gaggle of other vendors on Pennsylvania Avenue. Inauguration Day means business for Hatley, 57, who was selling T-shirts and sweatshirts from $10 to $25.

The hundreds of thousands of people descending on the city to celebrate President Obama's inauguration provide a prime target for hundreds of vendors like Hatley. His runaway best seller was a $10 hat - Hatley sold out of those on Sunday and had to find a local warehouse where he could get more.

On Monday, he set up around 6 a.m. and had more than a dozen customers almost before the sun came up. "It will all go," he says.

FULL COVERAGE: Presidential inauguration

Other vendors were striking gold by hawking hand warmers for up to $6 a package on the brisk Washington day.

The Lester children had the hot chocolate market cornered. From their front lawn a block from the Capitol, Ryan, 9, Ellery, 7, and Jane, 4, sold more than 200 cups of cocoa before Obama took his oath.

The kids opened for business at 8 a.m. as the crowds converged on the Capitol to wait for hours in the cold to pass through security.

"We ran out of cups," Ryan says.

"Throngs of people walked down the street this morning. It was thousands and thousands," says mom Stephanie Lester, a trade association lobbyist.

The children plan to donate 10% of the proceeds to a fund for the families of the victims in Newtown, Conn.

Lafern Love, a psychotherapist from Peeksill N.Y., was selling pins designed by a college friend.

"Making some money so I can buy oil to heat my house and pay some bills," says Love, 45. She says she isn't doing as well as she did at Obama's first inauguration, but that pins depicting the Obama family are hot sellers at one for $3, 2 for $5.

"It's busy, people are very excited to be here," Love says. "People love being here."

Darnell Porter, 33, from Petersburg, Va., is a salesman, truck driver, clothing designer and rap artist.

On Monday he was an inauguration vendor, selling hats, mugs, T-shirts, bags. He says he came to sell these items and help a friend - and to play a small part in history.

"I'm here for the inauguration of Obama, another four years," he says, adding that sales were doing pretty well. "Everybody can get something!"

Joseph Brown, 32, is selling magnets. He started them at 4 for $10, then 4 for $5, and now $1 per magnet.

"I've done more then broke even," he says. "It's just a quick couple thousand dollars you can make."

Not all the vendors are so fortunate.

Ishine Moore came up from Alabama with his son, hoping to pay for the trip by selling commemorative programs. Marked at $20, he was selling them for $10 outside a subway station.

Half a block away, another vendor was selling the same program for $5.

"It's real slow, real slow," he says. "It's different this time" from Obama's first inauguration four years ago.

Contributing: Gregory Korte, Donna Leinwand Leger




Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Vendors cashing in on inauguration

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