LAKEWOOD - The highway construction project along Fairmount Avenue near Hillcrest Avenue is being done to prevent future flooding, which will benefit all businesses in the area.
The work to prevent future flooding, however, has cut business traffic in the area to a trickle.
Jay Bowen, Don's Car Wash general manager and part owner, said his business is much slower than normal.
Construction workers continue work on the culvert project at the intersection of Fairmount and Hillcrest avenues in Lakewood Monday.
P-J photo by Dennis Phillips
''We have loyal customers that still go out of their way to see us,'' Bowen said. ''We're probably down 25 to 50 percent, depending on the day.''
One way to try and boost business at Don's Car Wash, located at 184 E. Fairmount Ave., Lakewood, is lowering the price of gas. While the detour is ongoing, which is scheduled to last until Friday, the cost of gas will be 5 cents cheaper at Don's.
''It seems to be helping a little bit,'' Bowen said about the discount attracting more customers.
Bowen said he has spoken with construction workers about the project and its timetable.
''I've talked to the guys and they seem to be on track,'' he said. ''The project is scheduled to be done before next Monday. So there is a good chance the road might be open by the weekend.''
Bowen said the most frustrating part of the detour is the constant level of traffic from travelers who seem unaware of the project.
''We have 500 people a day turn around in our parking lot that didn't know the road is closed,'' he said.
Bobbi Bragg, owner of Ebe's Originals, located 155 E. Fairmount Ave., Lakewood, in the Jamestown Mattress Plaza, said she ran a sale during the first week of the detour to try and attract more business.
''They are finding me. I haven't taken a hit. I ran a pretty hefty sale last week,'' Bragg said. ''I ran a specific sale and people made their way here and saw us. We ran a bunch of ads to get people in here.''
Ms. Bragg said Tuesday is usually the businesses best day of the week, which is when the store runs a 50 percent discount on all items in the store.
''I noticed we were short last week, though. We will see what happens this week. Hopefully, (the project) will just get done soon,'' she said.
Ms. Bragg said she has received a lot of phone calls and e-mails from people wanting to know how to get around the detour to her business.
''I just tell them to go to Hunt (Road) and then to Shadyside (Avenue) and we are right there. They can get to us,'' she said.
Vikki Rychcik, Pella Windows and Doors, 181 E. Fairmount Ave., Lakewood, said her business doesn't get much walk-in traffic. However, the business was flooded last year from the culvert being plugged with debris during a heavy rain storm.
''This a welcome convenience,'' she said about the detour and the project being done to prevent future flooding. ''We had to take stuff out of the store after it was flooded, that was an inconvenience.''
Ms. Rychcik said last year after the flood, offices, computers and displays all had to be removed and cleaned due to mud and water getting into the business.
''It was a month-long process to get everything out of here and cleaned,'' she said. ''The road being closed is great if we don't have anymore floods.''