Narberth Bridge, Shops Open for Holiday Business
None of the eight stores surveyed felt the six week closure had a profound impact on customer volume.
Though the PennDot-mandated repairs that closed the Narberth Avenue Bridge from Sept. 16 through Nov. 4 threw a wrench in the works for some borough businesses, most told Patch that they've rebounded nicely in time for the holiday rush.
Tracy Tumolo, whose Sweet Mabel Folk Art and Fine Craft is literally a stone's throw from the 109-year-old structure, said the traffic interruption its closure caused put a crimp in her sales figures—and even diminished attendance for the Oct. 7 First Friday—but that the problems were short-lived.
"As soon as the bridge opened back up, business for me went right back to normal," said Tumolo, who added that the dearth of borough parking is a bigger drag on her revenue than any road closures.
"Holiday business has been fine, though."
Down Narberth Avenue from Tumolo, Lauri Burger, a manager at Fuzion, said she saw no noticeable decline in sales during the six week closure while Mark Nelson, owner of dance and Pilate's studio The Yoga Garden, said, upon reflection, his seven year old business was disrupted.
"We had people complaining on the way in and some people showing up late for class," said Nelson.
He added that this Fall was a particularly slow one for the Garden—something that he attributes, at least in part, to broader economic factors. Since the bridge reopened though, he says he has noticed a mild uptick in revenue.
Joanna Harrison, a manager at the Great American Pub, said the bridge and later tunnel work (as Patch reported, Aqua Pennsylvania repaired burst water pipes under Wynnewood Avenue in late November, temporarily closing the Narberth tunnel) created traffic problems that were a "pain" for customers and employees alike, but that business went on unabated.
Robin Ekland, owner of Revivals Consignment Boutique, said her customers were also perturbed by the added inconvenience, but like the Pubs, kept showing up.
"I've been here 18 years, and we have an incredibly loyal customer base," Ekland said, adding that her model doesn't require large holiday business.
"We're more even throughout the year," said the owner.
Next door, Julie Segal and Jill Segal Bain, managers of Twice as Nice Children's Boutique, said that they were completely unaffected by the closure.
"We actually had our best month in October," said Bain.
A. Brandt and Son Jewelers wasn't quite as fortunate. Manager Bonnie Marcucci said they have, thus far, had a slow holiday season, and she imagines the bridge didn't help matters.
"It was a real hassle, and then the tunnel was down too, which added to it," said Marcucci.
"This week is going to be really big for us though," added owner Elan Brand, who said much of the hurt the construction caused was offset by his store's increased online business.
One of the newest owners on Haverford Avenue, reported no trouble. Marla Kaine said that Swan Dancewear, which she opened in September, appeared to be unaffected by the work, but admitted she had no point of reference.
"I didn't hear anyone say 'I was going to come in, but I couldn't get through,'" Kaine said, before adding that, so far, her holiday business has been short of booming, but just fine.