Downtown business managers: End result will be worth woes

Published 10:23 pm Wednesday, August 11, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Downtown Niles business owners can't help but be optimistic in the face of downtown construction.
That's because many of the owners, like Tammy Watson, co-owner of the Riverfront Cafe, 219 N. Front St., know the benefits of the construction outweigh the inconveniences they are experiencing.
The intersection of Front and Main streets will be closed as construction changes it into a raised or "tabled" intersection.
Niles Downtown Development Director Lisa Croteau said the intersection will act like a "speed bump" into downtown Niles.
Business has slowed down some with the construction going on, but the Riverfront Cafe has a core of loyal customers who always come in, according to Watson.
She really can't estimate how much business they've lost, Watson said.
Across the street at Blimpie Subs and Salad, 20 E. Main St., owner Linda Fuller has used increased advertising to keep customers coming in during construction.
Fuller, who is also a member of the Downtown Development Authority, sees the construction as a necessary evil.
Businesses like Quality Travel, 103 E. Main St., which rely heavily on phone sales, haven't been greatly affected by the construction.
Casto, a travel agent at Quality Travel, said most customers coming in are repeat customers so business hasn't slowed down that much.
Although many business have been well informed about the construction plans, Casto said she got an unwelcome surprise Monday morning.
Fuller said the construction workers have done everything they can to help out the businesses during the construction as well.
Dana Hankins, owner of Color Me Christian, 101 E. Main St., knew construction would affect business, but it's for the best, she said.