EXETER TWP., Pa. - Frustration is mounting among business owners and customers nearly three months after a sinkhole swallowed part of a busy shopping center.
Crews were still working Tuesday to repair the sinkhole that opened in the Exeter Commons shopping center in Exeter Township, Berks County. The end could finally be near, but it's come at a hefty cost.
It was business as usual inside Moe's Southwest Grill, but the restaurant has taken a sizable hit ever since the sinkhole opened outside its doors on May 1.
"We dropped off from where we were prior to this happening," said Travis Odom, owner of Moe's in Exeter.
Odom said business was booming when the cave-in first happened, but now he is blaming the sinkhole for a 17 percent loss in revenue over the last 60 days.
Over at LA Nails Day Spa, workers said business hasn't necessarily dropped, but their customers have been complaining.
"We do not have enough parking spaces for the customers to come in and the employees have to park far away from the store," said Ales Vu, a worker at LA Nails Day Spa.
The sinkhole swallowed part of the parking lot in the shopping center after heavy rains swept through the area. Ever since, customers like Barbara Naglak have rearranged their schedules to avoid the parking problem.
"When you come to one of these stores, the parking lot is limited, a lot more limited," said Naglak, who added she stops in the shopping center at least once a week.
According to contractors, work was delayed because they had to reconstruct the storm water system and they spent weeks waiting on parts.
Moe's has been open for only seven months in that location, and Odom hopes business will get back to normal.
"Hopefully, going into the eighth month with all this behind us we can really turn a corner," said Odom.
The contractor said the sinkhole should be completely fixed and the parking lot should be back to normal in about two to three weeks.
Allentown, PA 18102