Will Business Pave Its Way Back?

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constructionST. JOHNSBURY – Over the past couple of years, road construction has brought lots of inconvenience to both the local residents and businesses. Fortunately, the long working project is finally done, and employers are looking forward to having their regular business back.


Because of the constant constructions and detours, residents had to choose alternative routes. The local businesses, especially those on both Eastern Avenue and Main Street, had to bear the losses.

John Gabbie, the owner of the St. J Hardware working for almost 40 years, said the business lost around 10 percent of their loyal customers during these past two years. Location is vital for business, but customers of St. J Hardware could not always find a way to get there, and eventually chose other businesses, easier to access.

“Last year was the worst. Road construction changed our customers’ consuming habits. We have no choice,” said Gabbie.

The Dylan’s Café had a similar problem. Lily Henderson, currently employed at All About Flower, who worked at Dylan’s Café last year, described her experience in one word - “frustrated.”

“It was usually packed at lunch and dinner-time; however, when the road construction started on Eastern Avenue, customers didn’t come to the café as usual,” Henderson said.

“Few people came in some weeks. For us, tips dropped and sometimes we got a send home call from the boss. We can’t make any money.” Henderson added.

After working at All About Flowers, Henderson said sometimes it took over 30 minutes to deliver flowers to customers, when it shouldn't take so long.

Although the construction didn't affect the business of East Garden Restaurant located on Railroad Street too much, owner Jenny Chen said it affected their delivery to Saint Johnsbury Academy students and residents who live near the Main Street.

“My husband had to drive around the town to find a way to deliver the food. When he got there, the food was cold.” Chen said.

New construction will start next fall, so these business owners are hoping to make the best of business with the streets currently free of construction.

“We wish to get our customers back, but we know the difficulties to change their habits,” Gabbie emphasized several times.

“I hope that the situation won’t go down again,” Chen said. “The town needs to get this done as soon as possible.”