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Only 15 stores to issue Plaza tickets

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For all of those preparing to brave the lines outside of their neighborhood Hallmarks on Feb. 2 for Olympic Medals Plaza tickets, the number of stores that will pass out tickets has gone from 19 to 15.

Two of the four stores, Vi's Hallmark Shop at the Newgate Mall in Ogden and Coppin's Hallmark Shop at the Ogden City Mall, have closed.

Tickets at the other two stores have already been spoken for. The two Martha's Hallmark Stores, one at the ZCMI Center and the other at Fashion Place, took down names of people Jan. 10 and 11 so that they could receive the Medals Plaza tickets later.

"A few weeks ago, it was announced that Hallmark would be giving out tickets, and we had not given the stores any direction on how that would happen until this week," said Hallmark spokeswoman Eileen Gaffen.

"I'm sure at Martha's Hallmark they just thought it was up to them to decide how to pass them out. We apologize for the mix-up, and the customers who signed up in advance at those two stores will receive their tickets."

The other 15 Hallmark stores that were announced Tuesday as places to pick up plaza tickets will pass out the tickets Feb. 2 as planned on a first come, first served basis.

The Thursday afternoon announcement of Hallmark's intentions to honor the list of people who had already signed up at the Martha's stores came after a small outpouring of confusion and anger.

Carlie Neil, who works in downtown Salt Lake, said she took the day off work two weeks ago and went with her parents to Fashion Place to sign up for tickets. Neil said Thursday her mother received a phone call telling her that the list would not be honored and that everyone on the list would have to get in line Feb. 2 like everyone else.

Neil said she had been furiously calling Hallmark and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee Wednesday and Thursday to voice her outrage at not being assured plaza tickets, even though she had been promised them earlier this month.

SLOC told Neil they had nothing to do with the tickets, and the owner and employees at Martha's Hallmark refused to comment about the situation to the public or the media.

Even now that her tickets are assured again, Neil is still wary after the initial reversal by Martha's.

"I think it's great that we are going to get the tickets, but I wish they would give us the tickets now instead of waiting until Feb. 2," Neil said. "I want to make sure it really happens, because they were giving us quite a runaround before."


E-MAIL: pthunell@desnews.com