ALDERSON, W.Va., March 3 (UPI) -- Residents of the West Virginia town where Martha Stewart has been a federal prison inmate since October will miss the attention she has brought the community.
Stewart is set to leave the prison in Alderson Friday and begin a five-month home detention, the Charleston Gazette reported Thursday.
Local merchants say Stewart's presence has been a boon to commerce.
Alderson's Store, for example, has sold more than 1,200 "West Virginia Living -- It's a Good Thing" souvenir shirts, including several to Stewart's relatives and pals, like former Texas Gov. Ann Richards.
And scores of reporters from around the world have spent thousands on expense-account meals and motel rooms and filed hundreds of news accounts with positive descriptions of the town and its people.
"Martha Stewart's presence here has been a positive thing for this town," said Tom Roush, an Alderson native who is active in the town's Main Street program.
"A lot of people who hadn't heard of Alderson before now know that it's a very nice place."