There were some really quiet days in downtown Olivet the past four months — inside downtown Olivet businesses anyway. Outside was a completely different story as the rumble of new construction could be heard for months.
“It was a long summer,” said Lisa Stewart, owner of Willow Tree Coffee & Bakery. “There were several local people that really supported us throughout the construction, so that was nice.”
Willow Tree was one of more than 20 Olivet businesses affected by an $850,000 streetscape project that included replacing a 90-year-old water main, replacing storm drains and storm sewers, installation of new LED lighting throughout the downtown as well as decorative sidewalk and new curb and gutter.
The main portion of the project was completed in mid-November, reopening Main Street to through traffic and bringing much-needed relief for business owners.
“Business is getting better,” said Sandi Eishen, owner of This & That collectibles in Olivet. “Once we got our sidewalks back it made a big difference. People started coming back downtown a little more.”
Eishen, who relies heavily on out of town traffic for her antiques and collectibles business said the construction took its toll. She said, however, that she is starting to make up ground for a few really slow months.
“I certainly want to thank those customers that made their way in during the construction,” Eishen said.
Appreciation for their loyal customers is a common feeling among business owners.
“I’m really appreciative of my clients,” said Peggy Schnepp, owner of Main Street Stylers in Olivet. “They really came through for me.”
Schnepp said she was impressed by the amount of work done in a relatively short period of time. Business owners are pleased the work was completed before the holiday season. Stewart said business really started to pick back up for her around Thanksgiving.
“It took a couple weeks for things to pick back up once Main Street reopened,” Stewart said. “We had a great week for Thanksgiving and are hoping for the same during the holidays.”
There are still small construction projects to be wrapped up, though most won’t affect accessibility to downtown businesses. Stop downtown Olivet this Saturday, Dec. 6 for holiday festivities, including a visit from Santa Claus and don’t forget to shop locally for those on your Christmas list this season.