WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Downtown Wilmington and construction go hand in hand as development in the area continues. However, some businesses near the construction on Water Street say they’ve seen a negative impact to their businesses.
“There are signs. There are construction signs and people when they look down Water Street, they turn around and go back the other way,” Tugboat Tony’s Bagel Cafe owner Tony Savis said.
It’s a shared frustration among business owners along water street.
“We had plenty of parking on both sides of the street. Then they took a little more away, a little bit more away and now it’s down to – I think we’ve got maybe eight or nine spaces for I think we’ve got 10 businesses down here,” Imago Hair Studio owner Chad Bean said.
The construction for the Riverplace project began in April. Business owners like Savis say the construction is overwhelming his restaurant and other businesses in the area.
“We have our returning customers but no customer wants to park two blocks away to walk over here to get a bagel, as good as they are,” Savis said.
Savis says it’s a rare sight to see anyone working on the project. But there’s one thing really frustrating him about this whole process.
“The most frustrating part is the fact that our customers can’t get to our place of business to get a bagel. They can’t do it. And the tourists that are here don’t want to wait and try to get in here. They just turn around and go the other way,” Savis said.
And other businesses say they feel the pain too.
“We have no more walk in traffic. You know? We’re a dead end. So people see the construction, nobody wants to come down this far but yeah we’re hoping that the clients that have been with us for a while aren’t deterred to continue coming to us because they’re unable to park near the shop anymore,” Bean said.
Savis and other business owners say they have no problem with development but so far they have not been able to turn a profit. A spokesperson for the city says they are going to continue to communicate with the local businesses, particularly to the ones in the Water Street Center, as to what can be expected in the coming days and weeks. Wilmington Downtown Incorporated also encourages people to go visit these shops and support them.