KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Parts of Queen Street in Kinston remains closed as crews work on the bridge. Business owner David Mills says it’s crushing his sale numbers.
“Our sales were impacted quite a bit this past year. We were down about two million dollars in overall sales.”
He estimates more than 5,000 cars normally pass his shop, Mills International on a daily basis. That was before these road signs went up.
“People trying to go buy parts, it’s been difficult to come to us and even getting things to us bringing equipment in has been difficult,” Mills said.
H’s not alone. “Sales have plummeted quite a bit since they took the bridge out. People who travel highway 70 find it difficult to get into town,” Paul Mixner said.
Hawks Nest General Manager Paul Mixner says his sales dropped 20 to 30 percent. “Unless they have some other business in town, like going to the bank or post office or doctor appointment, they aren’t coming in.”
Owners say they understand the bridge needs to be replaced but wish DOT could speed up the process. Mills says his budget is tight between paying his employees and insurance.
Mills says, “When we have that much loss in sale
s and little profit we have just will pay the expenses.”
As for now, business owners say all they can do is play the waiting game and hope the bridge opens soon.
“We plan on being here now in the near to come to get to 50 years and keep going. That’s the goal.”