Lady's Island Traffic Impacting Local Businesses - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/04/07

Lady's Island Traffic Impacting Local Businesses

Traffic on Lady's Island, caused by the McTeer bridge damage is affecting almost everyone who lives in Northern Beaufort County and it's impacting many businesses in the area, especially downtown.

Merchants say business is still slow, but that it is getting better.

Earlier this week, merchants described downtown Beaufort as a ghost town, but business is starting to pick up and many are banking on the Taste of Beaufort at Waterfront Park to draw a big crowd downtown and help bring in some sales.

All of the traffic, caused by the McTeer bridge damage has pretty much put an end to foot traffic on Bay Street in Beaufort.

"It's been slow, very slow," said Beaufort Clothing Company employee, Brittany Clark.

So instead of ringing up sales, many merchants downtown like here at the Beaufort Clothing company are spending their time these days tidying up, waiting and hoping for customers.

"There's no traffic in here so no sales," said Beaufort Clothing Company Manager, Kelly Duncan.

"There's not as many sales, we don't have our regular customers in as much because they are all in traffic," said Clark.

While many locals may be steering clear of this area - local merchants have been getting relief this week.

"Fortunately earlier this week we had a lot of tourist buses, which brought tourist in, they had free roam of the street, pretty much," said Modern Jewelers Owner, Kevin Cuppio.

But it didn't make up for the big 60-th Anniversary celebration the owner of Modern Jewelers was hoping for.

"We ran a full page add in the Beaufort Gazette and we actually spent more time on advertisement that we did all day long," said Cuppio.

While the road traffic is getting better, getting downtown to Bay Street is still a bit of a challenge.

"We still have to work on getting people into the downtown and on Bay Street and a couple of the back streets it's not easy coming from over the island. They're not letting you turn but people are finding a way to get in here," said Cuppio.

But merchants say things are looking up.

" Locals are starting to come back a good bit more, they're finding the best times to get our and come downtown," said Cuppio.

The Taste of Beaufort begins Friday evening at 7:00 and then Saturday from 11 until 6:30 at Waterfront Park.

Beaufort County Emergency Management officials say additional officers have been placed downtown to help ensure traffic continues to flow downtown during the festival and additional signs have been placed around town to help visitors find their way around all of the traffic.

and they're hoping the Taste of Beaufort will bring in customers this weekend.

Kevin Cuppio

" hopefully if they're down for the Taste of Beaufort, they'll come up on Bay Street and do some shopping in stores as well."

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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