by Lisa Tome
Les Mahan wishes people would stop talking about that pesky bridge work on Route 272.
Mahan, a photographer and extra pair of hands at Kathy's Corner Shop in downtown North East, was working in the store last week.
"There's been some impact (on business) but over the weekend (April 17-19) during the nice weather, it was good. February is always bad. January, February, and most of March are quiet," said Mahan.
"The biggest problem with the bridge is the rumors going around. The idea is to keep the bridge open (as much as possible). But people like to talk bad news. Talking about it makes it worse," said Mahan.
He said people can get to the downtown. They just need to follow the signs.
"It's not that difficult to get here. People can get to town when they want to. There's ways around it. We just need to cooperate and people need to shut up," said Mahan.
Dawna Daidone owns au Natural Soap Boutique in downtown. She has lived all over, including California, and is proud to call North East home. Daidone said the work has had an impact on sales.
"It's really slowed it (business) down. I think it's really hurt it. I have seen a really big difference and I will be glad when it opens up (permanently). The minute they closed that bridge, people stopped coming," she said.
She said people won't go out of their way to shop in the downtown.
"People are avoiding it because they have to go out of their way. They don't like to venture off their routine. I will be thrilled when this is over. It's hard for the boaters to get through," she said.
But she is also committed to the town and her business.
"I love this town. It's the friendliest little town and the nicest people work in the shops. A few businesses have closed but I'm staying," she said.
Casey Greenway owns The 5&10 Antique Market. She said that during the summer, weekends are very busy in North East.
She isn't certain of the impact the closure of the bridge has had.
"I haven't looked at our numbers yet. We have heard a lot of grips and people have said they will wait until it's (work) done before they come. It's had an impact and I am looking forward to the bridge being fixed," said Greenway.