Commerce has slowed during Main Street construction, but new businesses keep opening

Local News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — New businesses are popping up in downtown Lynchburg. In the past week, a creperie opened up, and a brewery announced they’ll join two other breweries, which are scheduled to open later this year.

All this is happening while Main Street is in the middle of a two-year renewal project that’s been disrupting traffic.

Raven Miles lives downtown and works at Benny Scarpetta’s. She says business has taken a hit since the main street renewal project started.

“We get a lot of construction workers, which is great,” she said, “but our dinners are a lot slower. People, a lot of the time, with the road looking the way it does out there, people a lot of the time think that we’re closed.”

Just one street over, sisters Nicole Davidson and Chelsea Doebler opened a creperie last weekend.

“There’s a really cool community of people who live downtown,” said Davidson, “so just to bring another option for a quick bite for breakfast, lunch, or a little snack or treat for yourself has been really cool.”

While many downtown businesses have closed since the work downtown began, others have moved in, including three different breweries that announced they’ll be opening this year.

“They look at what’s happening downtown and the construction doesn’t really scare them,” said Ashley Kershner, the Executive Director of Downtown Lynchburg Association. “They’re going to open up, they’re going to do a really good job and get their word, get their name out there, and then when construction’s over, they’re going to be on one of the most beautiful streets in town.”

One of those breweries announced a few days ago that they’ll move in right next door to Benny’s, giving Raven hope that business will pick back up.

“We’re actually really excited here, because nothing goes together like beer and pizza. So we’re stoked, we’re ready for some more foot traffic.”

She says the new businesses are a good sign that the slump is only temporary.

Officials with the Main Street Renewal Project tell WFXR News that they are four months ahead of schedule. The original projected end date was November 2021, but they now project they will finish in July 2021.

They said they did not run into conflicts they thought they would have and had worked into the timeline. Specifically, they thought they would need to remove old underground trolley tracks to put in the waterlines, but they didn’t have to remove them, and that saved them time. They also reference the mild winter weather, which helped speed things along.

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