“It’s really hard” : Downtown Conway businesses struggle with Main Street bridge closure

Grand Strand

With the continuing closure of the Main Street bridge, some businesses in downtown Conway say they’re suffering. 

501 Business is one of two ways in and out of Conway from the beach.

The bridge closed about three months ago for repairs, and current South Carolina Department of Transportation estimates say it will not reopen until Memorial Day. 

“Definitely our business has dropped,” Terry Bedell, General Manager of the Trestle Cafe and Bakery said. 

The Trestle has been in Conway for more than 20 years and has long cemented itself as a lunchtime favorite. 

But lunchtime hasn’t been the same recently. “On a normal Wednesday we’d be full,” Bedell said, referencing the empty tables and chairs. 

She said the restaurant has dropped down from having a wait at its busiest times to just a few seated tables. 

“The traffic that used to come through in the morning that stopped and got donuts at our bakery, that has pretty much disappeared,” she said.

501 Business goes right through the heart of Conway, and businesses say cutting off that route is cutting off their lifeline. 

“We are not the only business that is suffering,” Bedell said. “I see it every day. I see the cars on the Main Street, I see what’s coming in and what’s coming out, I see it. At certain times every day, 4:30 on, the town is dying.” 

Pam Bardwell, who works at River City Christmas, said they’ve sold just a few trinkets in the last few days.

“You can be here all day and not even see a soul walking down Main Street,” Bardwell said.

The store is meant to spread holiday cheer year round, but she said the detours are making tourists and locals say, “Bah humbug!'”

“Their GPS’s do not let them know that there is a road closure,” she explained. “When people see a detour it’s like, ‘oh you know let’s not even mess with this.'” 

The shops say times are hard, but like during Hurricane Florence, they’re trying to remain “Conway Strong.”

“We just have to keep a positive attitude,” Bedell said. “And I hope everyone in Conway can do that. “

SCDOT gave Conway City Council more details about the bridge project Monday night, but council members still had some concerns

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