LYNCHBURG, Va (WFXR) — Businesses in the Hill City say ongoing construction downtown has caused a slowdown in sales. The construction spans the intersection of Commerce and Eighth Streets and the entire 800 block of Commerce Street is currently blocked off.
Tarsha Joyner owns “Mrs. Joy’s Absolutely Fabulous Treats” in downtown Lynchburg, she says sales used to be fairly consistent at her bakery, but now, she never knows what to expect.
“There used to be a time where I could look at my numbers from the previous years and create product based on those numbers, and now it’s like a roll of the dice,” said Joyner.
She says the construction has contributed to a slowdown in business.
“It does have an impact on sales, definitely does. I pray that we’re able to stay through the construction, but you know only time will tell,” said Joyner.
Joyner adds that this is not the first time construction has impacted local businesses, saying she has seen several shops have to leave downtown for this very reason.
“As long as I’ve been in downtown Lynchburg there’s been road construction,” said Joyner.
Special Projects Manager at the Department of Water Resources, Jim Talian, says the construction is part of a water line replacement program. He says they’re currently working on five blocks of commerce street.
“We’re making good progress, right now is probably the most difficult time of the whole project,” said Talian.
He says the city is doing its best to stay in constant contact with affected businesses to make the process as smooth as possible. He encourages businesses to reach out with any questions or suggestions, saying the feedback is often beneficial to everyone involved.
“Stay in contact with us, talk to us, keep us informed with what is going on in your business, and if you have an idea, bring it up to us,” said Talian.
Despite the challenges, Joyner says she is grateful for the customers that go out of their way to support her business and encourages others to shop locally as much as they can.
“If people want the small business that they enjoy to stick around, they need to remember them periodically so they can keep supporting them,” said Joyner.
While Talian says the entire Water Lane Replacement project will take multiple years, the current Commerce Street phase of it should be done in about three months, adding that the street should be open to through traffic in about six weeks.