The Odd Shop

The Odd Shop owner Christian Johnson stands in front of her shop and construction Friday in New Albany.

NEW ALBANY — Anyone who doesn’t have plans this weekend has the option to shop along East Main Street in New Albany, despite construction going on in the area.

Business owners along the corridor said Friday they could use a boost from shoppers as a water pipe replacement project on a portion of street has closed one side completely and limited parking on the other.

The Odd Shop owner Christian Johnson said since the construction has started sales are down at the vintage store, which is located at 155 E. Main St.

“In the past few weeks we’ve noticed our foot traffic has almost completely dropped off,” she said. “And we’ve had a lot of people seek us out as a destination and we do have some of our regulars, but our foot traffic is not there anymore.”

Johnson said this is normally her busiest season but now she’s trying to figure out if she needs to close on certain days or find another solution for the lack of foot traffic.

“I’m really looking forward to the revitalization of Main Street, I’m excited about it,” she said. “I think it’s going to be beautiful. I wish they’d given us some kind of timeline to prepare for it.”

Indiana American Water is currently working to replace a pipe from the 1930s that is under part of Main Street. Its location is on Main, from State Street to Fifth Street.

This project was supposed to start in the middle of April, but was delayed a few weeks due to weather and for notification of residents and business owners, according to the company.

But some business owners in the area said they didn’t receive a notification from the utility company.

The City of New Albany released information to the public about the $1.1 million project in April.

The News and Tribune reached out to Indiana American Water for comment about the project, but had not heard back as of press time.

Linda Williams owns Chestnuts and Pearls Gallery, 157 E. Main St., next door to The Odd Shop.

“If you will look, we’ve become an island and they cannot cross back into the parking lots to get here, they’ve got this blocked off,” she said, referencing the concrete medians and torn up pavement outside of her shop. “So we want to reach out to the construction people and them when they’re not going to be at work, if they can move all their vehicles to one spot where there are no businesses, and move at least one of those barriers so people can walk back and forth.”

Williams said it would be helpful to remove any barriers put up near the New Albany Farmers Market, so people can visit the shops after stopping there.

Across the street at Eureka! Menswear, 154 E. Main St., owner Dan Hardesty said they’ve also seen a drop in foot traffic.

The shop features unique, high-quality clothing, mixed in with vintage pieces.

“I think the investment is a great idea, I really do,” Hardesty said. “Main Street has so much potential for retail and dining and all of this stuff. It would’ve been nice to have a timeline. But I know when they get done with it, it’s going to be amazing.”

Next door to Hardesty’s shop is tailoring and alterations business Sew Fitting, at 154 E. Main St.

Owner Cisa Kubley said the construction is causing issues for her customers.

“Thankfully we are by appointment only, so we don’t really depend on walk-ins like the other businesses in our area do, but we’ve certainly been there before and can appreciate that,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of people running late because it’s hard to get to us. There aren’t any detour signs up and things like that. We’ve got a pop-up on the website to let people know, but not everybody sees that.”

In the future Kubley said it’d be helpful to get more information on closures and construction in the area.

“If it’s going to be this huge, especially a long-term project, you have to at least let our affected businesses know,” she said.

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