Local businesses are suffering at the hands of a major Mid-Michigan construction project.
A 10-mile stretch of M-46 is up for repairs and traffic is down to one lane in some areas, while others are completely closed.
While the improvements are much needed, local store owners said the work isn’t exactly good for business.
“I would say on average we’re looking at about 30 to 40 percent down,” said Tom Urbaniak, owner of Tom’s Party Store on M-46 in Hemlock.
His business is beyond the construction signs telling drivers to take a detour.
“Thank God the locals are still coming,” Urbaniak said.
He and other businesses are trying their hardest to bring in customers by posting numerous signs in the area saying they are open during construction.
Jenn’s Place is even offering specials.
“10 percent off all food that you buy for the length of the detour,” said Mark Neiderquill, with Jenn’s Place.
He said they are down about 20 percent in sales.
While they say the construction isn’t ideal, workers at the Maple Grille said they are doing just fine.
“Our business hasn’t changed at all. I think it helps that we’re so close to the detour that a lot of people come through and can see us,” said Josh Schaeding, with the Maple Grille.
He did acknowledge the normally busy road is now a ghost town.
“The traffic count is way down from where they started,” Schaeding said.
Urbaniak said he can’t wait for the construction to finish. Although business is down, he is trying to stay optimistic.
“It’s part of growth. It’s something that’s gonna happen. It’s something that’s gotta get worse before it gets better. So I know once it’s all done, it’s going to get a lot better,” Urbaniak said.
The construction is expected to last until mid-October.
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