Carmel launches initiative to help small businesses during construction

CARMEL, Ind (WISH) – Small businesses along the US 31 corridor in Carmel are in the red and the owners are seeing red.

“I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights worrying about the financial situation,” said John Perazzo, owner of J Razzo’s.

The Italian restaurant is located right on 31 North and Carmel Drive. Perazzo says lunch business is down 50 percent and dinner business is down 15 percent.

“People just don’t want to go where there is construction the roads are open, Carmel Drive is wide open, Pennsylvania Street is open, but people have it in their minds that they just don’t want to go where there’s construction,” said Perazzo.

Henry’s Pub and Grill, located on Clay Terrace Boulevard, opened just a few months ago when construction was just getting going.

“They can’t find their way here from time to time based on daily construction changes,” said Mark Schaeffer, general manager of Henry’s.

To help out the businesses in and around the construction zone, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard launched the #31bites campaign. It asks you to support these small businesses by going to one a day throughout the entire month of August.

“This is when the going gets tough,” said Mayor Brainard. “As we go into the fall, this is the time to draw attention to it.”

US 31 is on schedule to reopen by Thanksgiving. INDOT says summer rains pushed the timetable back a bit, but they are still on track.

Perrazzo says if the roadway isn’t open by then, he may be out of luck.

“That’s our biggest month of the year and we have Christmas and holiday parties and so forth so we need that done by then,” Perazzo said.

The mayor also defended the decision to fully shut down the roadway on Thursday. He said by doing that, construction can be completed quicker, and cost less.

Here’s more information on how to get around the construction.

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