Though the road construction going through Pine River has certainly provided some discomfort for drivers on Highway 371, motorists haven't been the only ones impacted by the detour.
Numerous local business on 371 have reported a decrease in sales and overall customer traffic since the construction began, as the detour has rerouted most drivers to bypass the businesses they once drove right by.
Kim DeLong, manager of the Holiday Station Store gas station, said that the detour has hindered drivers with larger vehicles from physically accessing the gas station.
"Business-wise, the customers can't get in (to the gas station)," DeLong said. She noted that the detour had made Holiday's parking lot too small for many motorists to comfortably navigate in.
"If it's a car, that's fine, but anybody with a boat or trailer can't get turned around in the parking lot, and then they've got to wait for the cross-traffic to pull out," said DeLong.
Due to the detour and various other road problems, DeLong admitted that business has decreased.
"It's really dropped down," DeLong said. "It's very frustrating."
Diane Johnson, of Station 371 in Pine River, said that despite having access to traffic that many other businesses were cut off from, the gas station has seen a slight decline in business.
"There's been a small decrease in business," Johnson said. "It happens. People avoid detours."
Though Johnson said many construction trucks working on 371 do fill up at her station, this influx of customers doesn't make up for the loss of regular 371 traffic.
"When you figure how much traffic goes by here, there (are) people who don't even come over this way because of the detour," said Johnson. "Even our regular customers don't go out-and-about because they don't like this mess out here."
Though the decrease in regular customers has affected business, Johnson admits that the road construction will benefit business in the long run.
"It's been working fine. We know road construction has to happen, so the best time it could happen is right now, before summer really gets going."
The road closing has affected even businesses that aren't on Highway 371. Janice Gardiner, owner of Gardiner's Hardware Hank, said the construction has led to a slower increase in summertime business.
'It's dragging on a little long," Gardiner had to say about the roadwork. "But I don't think it has hurt business excessively."
Gardiner mentioned that the amount of highway traffic doesn't significantly change the amount of customers the hardware store sees.
"I think if people want to get here, they will find a way," Gardiner said.
Randy Barnum, of NAPA Auto Parts on 371, mourned the loss of highway traffic due to the road construction. Barnum said the construction took away a lot of business that NAPA Auto Parts had seen by moving to 371 in April 2011.
"Everything that I gained by moving out to the highway I lost when they closed it down," Barnum said. "It hasn't been good for business at all."
Though the loss of business has been hard, Barnum remains positive about the future prospects once the construction is finished.
"I'm sure it'll pick back up once (371) opens up," said Barnum.
Despite the loss of revenue many Pine River business on 371 suffered under the road construction, most businesses say they expect and look forward to business returning after construction ends, which is expected to happen sometime this week.
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