Ongoing construction hampers foot traffic to Genesee Street businesses

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A significant construction project on Genesee Street has left local businesses grappling with reduced foot traffic and dwindling sales, as the area is not expected to reopen until the spring of 2025. Business owners on the impacted stretch voiced their concerns, emphasizing the struggle to attract customers amidst the ongoing work.

With one-way traffic blocking businesses right now, getting customers has become a challenge.

“Right now I’m having a very hard time with the project going on out there. It cut my inventory way down,” Deloris Hamilton said. Hamilton, who runs a grocery store adjacent to the construction site, reported a steep decline in her store’s foot traffic, attributing the downturn to the construction barriers that confuse and deter customers. Hamilton’s sales have notably halved since the construction began.

“They don’t know where to turn,” she said.

Similarly, Tyan Jones, the owner of a neighboring barbershop, has seen his business’s income plummet by 50%, noting a significant decrease in clientele, especially during what used to be peak times.

“Thursday is like our weekend eve, and usually we’re packed. I’ve got about three people in there now,” Jones said.

Jones also criticized the city’s communication regarding the project, revealing he was only made aware of the construction when it commenced outside his doorstep. A flyer distributed by the city initially suggested the disruption would last only until the summer; however, the official city website says the project would extend until 2025.

Both Hamilton and Jones are urging the city can do something to help them through, whether it’s tax breaks or even some extra parking spots in the lots nearby.

“We’re overcomers, first and foremost, and we’re gonna strive, you know, regardless of what – we went through the biggest thing none of us ever experienced, which was covid, and we’re still here,” Jones said.

News10NBC inquired with the city about measures being taken to support affected businesses. In response, city officials acknowledged the short-term impact of the construction on local businesses and residents, assuring that efforts are being made to minimize negative effects and expedite the project. The city said it would install signs to signify that businesses remain open during construction.

This disruption echoes similar situations faced by businesses on State Street during a two-and-a-half-year construction project, highlighting the ongoing challenge for small businesses in navigating the impacts of infrastructure improvements.

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