Construction slows business a bitWith road construction ongoing in Hammond and Roberts, local businesses say construction has caused a drop in business, but many say it hasn’t affected business too much.
By: Gretta Stark, New Richmond News
With road construction ongoing in Hammond and Roberts, local businesses say construction has caused a drop in business, but many say it hasn’t affected business too much.
As Davis Street is still temporarily closed, many Hammond business owners said they have noticed a change in business, although some businesses said they didn’t much of a change at all.
Businesses like the BP station and the Post Office supply items people have a constant need for. The post officer in charge said the post office had seen no change in the number of people coming in to buy stamps.
“If people need stamps they’re going to come get them,” said Mike Parrott. “We’re going to keep the doors open and service our customers regardless.”
BP employees Jackie O’Connell and Heather Vasser said the only difference they’ve seen is the way people enter the station’s lot.
“We have signs posted on the back roads so they know we’re still open down here,” Vasser said.
Charles Longen, manager and cook at the Hammond Hotel said there has been a slight drop in customers but the patio still brings people in.
The Hammond Public Library has seen an upswing in online traffic, according to library director Michelle Johnson, and like the Hammond Hotel, a few people that want to cool off.
“People will stop by to get out of the weather,” Johnson said.
The Hammond Public Library is a part of the MORE Library System so Johnson said book requests for interlibrary loan through the system are common, though they have picked up since the summer and construction began.
Sandy Brecht of Sandy Brecht Photography said construction has slowed business down for her, due to a drop in walk-ins.
“I’m glad it looks like it’s wrapping up,” said Brecht of the construction. “I’m happy about that.”
The St. Croix County Highway Department is working with the Village of Hammond and the village’s engineering firm. Tim Ramberg, St. Croix County Highway Department highway commissioner, said the highway department wanted to work with the village to ensure the safety of certain areas of the new road, particularly sidewalk.
“For safety purposes we don’t want children or pedestrians walking in front of our overhead doors where our heavy equipment exits,” Ramberg said.
The village ran a number of options past the St. Croix County Highway Department, and the department helped the village decide which to go with.
“We selected the most safe of those options,” Ramberg said.
Meanwhile, the construction on Highway 65 is having a similar effect on businesses, particularly those whose highway access has been cut off.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a dramatic change,” said Nate Stork, co-owner of Sidetrack Saloon.
Stork said he has noticed some golfers, who would normally patronize his establishment have not been driving the extra four miles to get to Sidetrack Saloon.
“They usually just go home when they’re done golfing,” Stork said, “instead of coming in for a bite to eat and a brewski.”
However, Stork said business hasn’t been affected that much.
“As far as the locals are concerned,” Stork said, “they’re all still here.”
While other Roberts stores have reorted a similar experience, Subway has been enjoying more customers than usual.
“We get the construction workers, so we’ve kind of been busier because of it,” said Brittany Pace, Subway sandwich artist.
Construction on Highway 65 is estimated to be complete by November. The road is being resurfaced and four roundabouts are being added at the intersections of Highway 65 and County G, County TT, 120th Street and 130th Street.