Stoughton construction limits access to local businesses

Stoughton construction limits access to local businesses
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Local businesses are facing limited access to their shops due to a construction project along Main Street in Stoughton.

The street and nearby streets are closed to through traffic and some parts of the sidewalk are torn up, making the stores mainly accessible on foot.

Dandelion Outfitters said their customers are having a difficult time finding a place to park with access to their business on Main St. blocked by construction.

The City of Stoughton said they’re working to make this project as painless as possible for store owners. #News3Now

— Gabriella Bachara (@GabbyBachara) August 22, 2019

“Originally, we were told that customers would have access to all of the stores in this construction zone,” Jessica Ryckman, owner of Dandelion Outfitters, said. “Just starting yesterday, I couldn’t even get into the store myself.”

Business owners said they knew this construction project was in the works for years, but they weren’t aware of the dates of limited accessibility.

“Apparently, a city worker and the construction foreman came in and talked to the business upstairs, but no one talked to me,” Ryckman said.

Director of Planning and Development Rodney Scheel said the city has worked to expedite this construction process.

“There are three different crews working on underground infrastructure at the same time in this segment; likely reducing the closure time by about two weeks,” Scheel said in an email statement. “I believe yesterday probably posed the most significant challenge for access but has improved significantly this afternoon.”

Ryckman said even a short amount of time can make a big difference for a small business owner.

“If you think about two weeks of dropped foot traffic, it could mean a 25% to 35% decrease in my income for the month,” Ryckman said.

“Are we disrupted? Yes. Is business down this week? Yeah. Am I hoping it bounces back, even over the weekend or at the farmers markets that we will be attending this week? Sure, I hope so,” Stoughton Sweet Shoppe owner Todd Barman said.

In the meantime, both businesses are working to make it convenient for customers to get the products they want.

“If people just want to give us a call, and they have a particular product they are interested in, I will walk it a block to take it to them, or else we will find a different way to deliver it to them,” Barman said.

Stoughton Sweet Shoppe will be at the farmers market this weekend.

“I think there are things businesses can do to make sure that customers who need their product right now can get access to it,” Barman said.

The construction project is expected to be completed Aug. 30, according to Scheel.

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