The work has finally begun for the new temporary bridges over the railroad tracks on Main Street and Merchants Row.
I have been anticipating this work for several years. Actually more like six. I saw the writing on the wall that my business was going to be affected by the work and made preparations to move my store. If you don’t know, Otter Creek Used Books was located to the left of the top photo in between the railroad tracks and Printers Alley.
I have empathy for the businesses on Main Street and Merchants Row as to how the construction will affect them. It will be trying times for all businesses including having to endure the activity, noise created by the upcoming construction. And the uncertainty of shoppers. The work will include closing Printers Alley for the next three years. Traffic will enter from the north of MarbleWorks off of Seymour Street. A pedestrian path will be created down Printers Alley.
As a business owner who was going to be directly affected by the construction I was pro-active in securing a new location and worked very hard to re-establish my business and hoped to be settled by the time the work began. What I didn’t take into account were the additional environmental studies, possible lawsuits and more which derailed (pun intended) the projects for years. I have to think about how I worked to turn my store around in reputation and income when I bought it in 2006 and was faced with the decision to move and get ahead of the construction or wait for the last moment. At that time it appeared to me the work was going to happen sooner rather than later so we moved.
I am happy in my current location in the MarbleWorks. I love it here with a definite sense of community. But I can’t help but think if I had stayed on Main Street for several more years I would not have experienced such a lost of income as I did. People couldn’t find me. They assumed I closed the store. Fortunately the amazing staff at the Vermont Book Shop were the best and directed people to my new location. In fact, they still are. Book people are the best! My first several years here were very hard as I was faced with once again rebuilding my business. It was hard doing it once. Twice in five years is difficult. The lost of income was staggering. But I did it thanks to my incredible family and local customers and of course, the MarbleWorks community.
I am going into this town project being positive, optimistic and any other affirming words you want to throw together. The store will survive and our communities will rally around all the downtown businesses. Now is clearly the time to Shop Local. And for good measure I will keep my fingers crossed. 🙂