Gas costs, road construction affecting businesses

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email | Twitter

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Road construction and high gas prices is not a good mix for many drivers, but they're not the only ones paying the price. It's hitting businesses in one part of Mount Pleasant pretty hard.

Jackie Chapman hoped to be taking a lot more "take and bake" pizza orders at the new Papa Murphy's in Mount Pleasant, but he says road construction has been a hang up.

"It's been a major headache. We've seen a decrease in our sales. It's been very hard for the customers to come in here. The trucks have even taken up customer parking spaces," said Chapman, manager of Papa Murphy's pizza.

Kickin Chicken says some customers can't really tell if they can "cross the road or not" to come in to the restaurant.

"It's definitely hard to get in and out. Our deliveries picked up which has been great. Most of the people who are loyal are still coming. We just kind of have to deal with it," said Kickin Chicken marketing director Patti Travasos.

Businesses say the ongoing traffic project to widen Johnnie Dodds Boulevard has been a concern. There have been multiple lane closures right in front of these businesses. Papa Murphy's added some extra signs letting people know they're open.

"Once I put up the signs, I think it helped customers finally realize we were here," Chapman said.

It's not just traffic driving down business, the rising cost of gas, now at an average of $3.43 a gallon in the area, is also affecting the bottom line. AAA says gas costs are up more than ten cents from last week in the Charleston area.

Papa Murphy's hopes the cost doesn't put the brakes on the delivery aspect of the pizza restaurant.

"Prices are skyrocketing. Something's going to have to budge. It's just really hard right now," Chapman said.

Kickin Chicken says they'll continue offering daily specials, to get customers in the door, as they deal with construction and gas prices.  Papa Murphy's says it hopes to start delivery within the next couple of weeks.

People traveling through construction zones on Johnnie Dodds Boulevard should be aware of speed limit reductions and some lane closures.

Charleston County Roadwise says for the entire month of April there will be daytime closures on East Frontage Road between 9 am to 4 pm. For part of the month of April you can expect overnight lane closures on Johnnie Dodds Boulevard near the Stuckey Furniture store.

Roadwise says the Johnnie Dodds project should be complete by fall of next year.

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