Orange barrels driving business away in Okemos

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – Anyone who has to go through Okemos driving on Grand River Avenue or Okemos Road knows what a challenge it can be. Some simply avoid the area altogether.

Month: WILX News 10 Live Traffic Map

Most drivers and business owners on Grand River Avenue said they welcome the improved roads, but that’s not the reason for their concern. The question is when will the improvements be completed? From the pandemic to several months of construction, they said business is not as good as it could be.

“We did well, but yeah, it’s disappointing. I think the numbers would have been higher,” said Brandon Decker, co-owner of Mert’s Specialty Meats in Okemos.

Decker said that despite losing money, the community kept its doors open during the construction season.

“We have a very loyal customer base and I know they’ve gone out of their way, literally, to make sure they support us during these times. I think a lot of our neighbors have had it a lot worse than we have,” Decker said.

And Decker is right. Down the road, Lotte Market owner Jay Park said he has lost about 40% of sales. Their customer base is older and they have been avoiding orange barrels as much as possible.

Game makers said they’ve been doing well this summer — people haven’t stopped coming in. Manager DJ McMillan said that’s because Grand River Avenue isn’t the only way his customers can access the building.

“It’s probably been a little less convenient for people to get to us, but we have other access points into Hamilton from Okemos, as well as Grand River and Indian Hills, the neighborhood behind us to get to Mt. Hope,” he said. McMillan said. .

But it hasn’t been so easy for other businesses along the Grand River.

Right now, Decker is working with Meridian Township Manager Frank Walsh, MDOT, and a state representative to make the Grand River construction a priority.

“All the other corridors that used to have less traffic now have more traffic, so it’s really not an easy way to get here and to have so many different projects going on in the same community, I know it’s been difficult for the residents and the companies”. Decker said.

Business owners said 105 days of road construction have caused profits to drop by 15% to 30% or more, dating back to the peak of COVID.

To encourage foot traffic, the Meridians Area Business Association will host Mob the Roadblock on August 31, 2022.


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