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Inside Politics

A tale of two shops in Canton, Ohio

By CNN's Richard Quest

Cathy Wyatt is holding her own in the coffee shop business.
Follow Richard's political adventure at  American Quest
• The Candidates: Bush | Kerry

CANTON, Ohio (CNN) -- They are really nothing more than just two shops. A sandwich shop and a specialty coffee shop. Next door to each other in downtown Canton, in buildings that have been restored to resemble something of the city center's former glory.

Neither shop is remarkable, except for the women who own and run them. Both took risks to make it work, and both are planning to vote for U.S. President George W. Bush.

Quizno's sandwich shop is run by Robyn, who was made redundant from the Hoover vacuum cleaner company after 27 years.

She took her severance pay, mortgaged the house and bought the Quizno's franchise. She isn't making money, but very proudly she announces: "I am paying my bills ... and on time. "

It was the opportunity to do something by herself to be independent that led to this move.

"I wanted to do something on my own I wanted to own my own business. I think coming in every day and making someone's subs and giving them a smile helps me and them."

Next door, is Cathy Wyatt.

Her specialty coffee shop wouldn't be out of place in New York or LA. Except for the prices -- her lattes are half the price in those metropolitan areas. She is also holding her own in business.

Both women are also ardent republicans. Cathy Wyatt goes as far as to suggest her business decision to invest came about because President Bush was in the White House.

"I don't think I would have had the confidence to open up this shop unless George Bush had been president. I just think the atmosphere that he creates and the sense of security he presents I what helped make our decision open up the shop at this time."

These a strong words at an election time like this. And they give an indication as to the strategy of the Republicans in this heavily Democrat region.

Because if the Republicans can make inroads into the Democrat majority in the north of Ohio, but prevent the Democrats from doing the same thing to them in the south of the state (traditional Republican areas), then its really rather simple.

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