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Harrison Ave. Construction Costing Local Businesses

By: Mark Lindner
By: Mark Lindner

Construction along Harrison avenue between Alpine and Mulford has made life more difficult on motorists, forcing us to leave earlier or even take alternate routes to get to the places we need to go. But while the congestion has meant longer travel times for some, it has also meant fewer customers for local businesses.

"Business is probably about half what we did before construction started," says Chase Byerley, an assistant manager at Culver's.

Shops and restaurants along Harrison Ave. are normally busy on weekends. But now, those tables and aisles are empty which has business owners extremely worried.

"Saturdays have slowed down and that's normally our busiest day. I think the Harrison traffic is a lot of that," says John Reisenbigler, owner of Amish Furniture Specialties.

"We're just trying to beat it out, just trying to survive until the road gets done and hopefully we get all those customers back," Byerley adds.

When construction began on the road two months ago, many businesses were worried that customers would be scared away. Now, suddenly empty parking lots represent what many say was the worst of their fears.

"I think that once people come down and experience the congestion, they stay away after that," Reisenbigler says.

"When we do get slammed, everyone is running around because we don't have that many people on the floor," Byerley adds.

"I didn't think it would bother us that much, but it has taken its toll on us," says Reisenbigler.

And it will continue to do just that. The multi-million dollar project is not scheduled to be completed until next fall. Until then, store owners will continue their struggle to survive.

"We understand the road work had to be done and its gonna be a great improvement. We're excited to get the business back that we lost during the construction," says Culver's owner Aaron Cook.

We'd appreciate it if they'd move a little faster on it," adds Shamil Asani, manager of the Sunrise Family Restaurant.

To offset the lack of customers, businesses are trying everything from creative advertising to reducing staff in order to stay afloat. All businesses in the construction zone will remain open during the construction.


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