Road closure affecting businesses

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Empty forecourt . . . Curson Motors manager Gael Perry is struggling to get customers since the Hyde St roundabout in Gore was closed on Monday for resurfacing. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

The closure of Gore’s Hyde St roundabout is adding pressure to Main St businesses already dealing with the challenges of Covid-19.

The road has been closed since last Monday for resurfacing.

Curson Motors manager Gael Perry said this was yet another blow after the Omicron outbreak and the recent rise of fuel prices.

While the service station was still open and accessible via Kitchener St, losing the direct Main St access had caused sales to drop by more than 75%.

“Nobody’s coming in. It’s going to affect us really dramatically.”

The business had a cafe and workshop, but its AA services were probably the only reason that they were still open, Ms Perry said.

It was the only place in Gore which provided driver licence services, she said.

She understood the resurfacing work was probably important, but the sooner it was finished the better.

“With these kinds of things, we lose customers, they go somewhere else and it’s really hard to get them back again.”

There was a sign to tell people that businesses were still open, “but with cones across the road it discourages people from coming in”.

Neighbouring businesses were struggling as well, Ms Perry said.

South Gore Dairy owner Marie Ross said customer rates had dropped by half.

“It’s been a wee bit quieter, but not to the extent that there’s no-one.”

Her business was still accessible from Main St, though the road works were probably deterring some people, she said.

It was another challenge on top of the Omicron outbreak, but Ms Ross was keeping a positive attitude.

“It’s not helping the situation, but we just chug on and get on with it. You can’t do much about it.”

Millennium Motors manager Evan Fricker said sales were down after he was forced to temporarily relocate the vehicle dealership.

“We’re down at the St John ambulance old building.. we shifted everything, all the vehicles are now down there.

“We were just so lucky that we managed to find an alternate premises quickly,” he said.

He had been given less than 10 days notice before the work began.

“We would’ve loved to have known a lot earlier. However, we have had excellent communication since they commenced work and they are doing their best to get it done.”

Mr Fricker was also making the most of the situation by holding a sale and refurbishing the yard, he said.

“Often those jobs are very difficult to achieve when you have a yard full of cars. It has given us the opportunity to spruce up Millennium Motors.

“We understand that this maintenance is required. We just have to take measures to adapt to it.”

Mataura Licensing Trust operations manager Bob Vercoe said while sales at Super Liquor Gore had been down by about 15%, customers were now starting to return as word got out that the business was still open.

“A lot of people just saw the road closed sign .. they didn’t see the sign on the left which said businesses are open.”

Better accessibility was also helping, Mr Vercoe said.

“The council had a chat to the contractors .. they came down and put another ramp in and that has improved things.”

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is resurfacing several sections of State Highway 1.

This includes parts of Main St in Gore, which is closed between the Eccles St and Kitchener St intersections with detours in place.

A Highways South social media post said this was ahead of schedule and would be finished by the end of the week instead of March 25 as planned.

The Mersey St roundabout had previously been closed overnight on March 6 and 7 for resurfacing.

Gore District Council is replacing water mains in the area while the road is closed.