LYNCHBURG, Virginia. – Business owners have been through a lot lately because of the ongoing pandemic. However, for those with storefronts along Main Street in Lynchburg, there’s another culprit that’s slowing them down.

Large construction sites have been diverting customers from businesses for almost two years now, and it will last a little longer.

“We have seen a decrease in the number of customers,” said Jeff Gray. “A lot of people hear that there is construction going on downtown and they don’t want to worry about it.”

Gray is the owner of Scene3 and he will be turning 20 next month. Just a few years ago, he moved the place downtown in an effort to reach more people.

It has been difficult to do with the construction blocking access from the street to his front door, and with his busy season approaching, he has said he will have to get creative.

“Not very happy at this point,” he said. “We thought it would be over in October. They have just extended this part of the construction project until December.

A d

Scene3 is not the only one affected by construction.

“There are only three people left in my block on both sides,” said Tom Wood.

Across the street, Wood has been running Scarlett’s Main Street Antique since 1997. Construction in front of his store was completed late last month.

“In July, they completely tore up the main street in front of me,” he said. “People couldn’t even enter my store. “

City officials say the project will bring more business to the downtown area by converting Main Street to two-way traffic. While business owners are optimistic, they say it hasn’t yet been.

“I actually think the construction is probably worse than COVID, but it was a double whammy,” Wood added.

Weather delays and unexpected infrastructure issues delayed the city for about a month and a half. They say they hope the rest of Main Street and sidewalks will be reopened by the end of December.

“The construction, I thought that would be the end of us too,” Gray said. “But we’re still here.”

A d

The conversion of Church Street to two-way traffic began on Wednesday. The conversion is expected to be completed by the first week of October.

Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.