Construction driving down profits in Bethlehem, business owners say

Project driving down profits in Bethlehem, businesses say

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - An ongoing construction project in Bethlehem is a major road block for customers.

Business owners say things will look great when the project is finished, but for now, construction is taking a bite out of their profits.

The sounds of progress on Main Street in Bethlehem also means less money for some business owners

"Well it's a bit of a mixed bag obviously. Certainly people's business has been affected by the street closure, said Neville Gardner, Downtown Bethlehem Association. "The further down the street you go, the worse it is," Gardner added.

Crews are installing a new star along the street at Main and Market.

They also replaced a water main and fixed sidewalks.

Construction started in September and at Johnny's Bagel and Deli they've seen the work cut into their profits.

"During the week our business is like fifty percent down," said Joann Bernhardt, Johnny's Bagels and Deli. "On the weekends, it's maybe about 25 to 30 percent down. So it took a really big toll on the business," Bernhardt said.

"They've all been very patient," said Gardner. "They recognize this project is being done by a very generous donation from Liberty Property."

While business owners wait, what does the work mean for festivals?

Harvest Festival is this weekend and for people used to strolling Main Street, they'll just have to make a detour.

"It's not going to take any of the juice from Harvest Fest," said Gardner. "We're going to have vendors on the opposite side of the street, down to as far as the Moravian Book Shop, so there will be lots of stuff going on opposite the hotel."

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