Lesner Bridge construction brings sales to a screeching halt for some businesses

Posted at 7:43 PM, Dec 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-16 19:43:00-05

As construction on the road to the new Lesner Bridge moves along, sales at some nearby businesses came to a screeching halt.

Cortney Cleveland, owner of My Chic's Rewind and Consign Shop, says sales in the last three weeks have plummeted as much 40% as she says construction closed off all entrances to her shop for about three weeks.

"People would have to go to a detour through the neighborhood," she said. "I had tons of customers email me and say 'I didn't think you were open because of the construction.' They thought I was completely closed."

This is the first year her shop has been open and Cleveland says she can't afford to lose a single customer, especially weeks before Christmas.

"Every time I have a slow month, I'm like 'Oh, I can wait until Christmas, because Christmas is going to pick up.' Christmas always picks up and these few weeks, whatever they were doing just really put a burden on that," Cleveland added.

But it's a completely different story just two doors down from Cleveland's shop. That's where the owner of Oceanfront Interiors says construction has actually helped business.

"Somebody asked me how it is affecting my business, I said, 'Great!' because it's slowing down traffic," said owner Gini Bonds. "At rush hour, people are kind of backed up in traffic so they can look over here and say, 'Oh, upholstery and window treatments, I'm going to go there when I need something.'"

She adds it still was a struggle for people to find their way into the shopping center's parking lot though.

Drew Lankford, a city spokesperson said in an email:

“We really do regret whenever one of our projects affects local businesses or residents in a negative way, no matter for how long or how briefly.   The City does everything possible when planning these projects to keep anything that will inconvenience or affect residents and businesses alike to a bare minimum – particularly lane closures.   Sometimes it’s just unavoidable, and we regret that.   These are large projects that require a huge amount of effort and time from many different parties who are invested in it, and we try to coordinate everything so that we complete the project with as little disruption as possible.

We hope that once the project is finished, the improvements will improve access and visibility so these businesses are affected in a much more positive way.”
The new bridge is expected to be completed in 2017.