High Point businesses say construction is impacting sales

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Three weeks into the Main Street infrastructure project in High Point and the project is still on schedule. Earlier this fall, the city decided to close down both lanes of the street in an effort to speed up the project and not interfere with the fall and spring furniture markets.

But coming off what is supposed to be one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year, small business owners located on the closed portion of the road say they are already seeing profits dip.

"On Saturday which is supposed to be Small Business Saturday, we did not even break five dollars, $4.65 was how much we made on small business Saturday," said Tim Fogarty, owner of Smith and Whitley Music, which is located in a shopping center at the corner of Sunset Drive and North Main Street.

"If too many of those days happen in a row then we won't be able to keep the retail side of the store functioning that we would have to rely on lessons only," Fogarty continued.

Fantasy Nails is located just a few doors down from the music store and has already closed their doors while the construction is going on.

Triad Employment Staffing says their sales volume is down 25 percent this November compared to 2015. They say a big part of their business comes from people who are driving or walking by.

The city is doing what it can to try and mitigate the impact. It spent several thousand dollars putting up signs with store names and arrows to direct customers. They also launched a "shop local" advertising campaign and have run several ads in local newspapers.

"A project of this magnitude -- there's a lot of people and businesses that are impacted. We have tried and are continuing to have discussions with the businesses, getting feedback and input from them," said Jeron Hollis, communications officer for the City of High Point.

But not every business is suffering. Joe Hubay is the owner of High Point Jewelry and said sales at his store are typical or maybe even a little better this year. Hubay says that probably has something to do with his location.

"We have access off of Ray Street, which connects with Hamilton and then in the backside of our parking lot so that has made it a little bit easier," Hubay said.

The project is replacing hundred-year-old pipes and other utilities. Signs showing that small businesses are open are blue and have bright orange stripes to make them stand out.