Business owners near bridge brace for poor sales
AURORA, Ky. - Some business owners near the Eggners Ferry Bridge are bracing for poor summer sales after the partial bridge collapse. They fear visitors and customers won't take the detour, leaving them without business.
Traffic outside the Willow Pond restaurant is few and far between, and the lack of cars and customers is hurting owner Randy Mabry's business.
He tells Local 6 "It's devastating. It's going to have a ripple effect no telling how long."
Mabry has seen his ups and downs, but when the Delta Mariner collided with the Eggners Ferry Bridge, he knew his restaurant would take a hit. "Like everyone else in business, we suffered through what we though were bad years, but we sure didn't see this coming."
Mabry saw an initial spike in business from bridge site seers but fears when tourist season begins in March, the people won't come.
He says he doesn't know how much business he'll lose, but he's bracing for a not so hot summer. "We're trying to be as optimistic as we can be. But we don't see no quick resolution and answer to that."
For now, his loyal Marshall County customers are keeping him busy: including longtime Sunday regular Jesse Russell, who says he can't think of another place to go should the restaurant close.
"I don't want to think of that because when i get hungry, i want to have their restaurant open so i can get something to eat."
Mabry says the economic impact will impact other businesses too, including area motels and camp sites which depend on visitors to keep them up and running.
Despite the anticipated loss in sales, Mabry is hoping his restaurant stays open and traffic picks up. "Our area can't take many blows. We didn't think it could happen in 100 years."