Lift Bridge Book Shop entrance Brockport, NY, Oct. 1, 2023. (Photo/Christopher Lewis)
BROCKPORT, N.Y. – If you’ve driven in downtown Brockport lately, you’ve likely noticed construction cones, temporary fences and crews working on the bridge that spans the Erie Canal. While the construction is annoying for local residents, it’s costly for local businesses.
Erie Canal bridge closed due to construction Brockport, NY, Oct. 1, 2023. (Photo/Christopher Lewis)
John Bonczyk and his wife Sarah Bonczyk own Lift Bridge Book Shop, one of the businesses on Main Street. The Bonczyk’s have owned the shop for more than 20 years.
Prior to the pandemic the local business was visited customers ranging from students that attended the nearby campus to those who simply preferred to shop local.
Bonczyk explained how instead of his business sinking during the pandemic, as many local businesses did, it grew at an even faster rate which allowed the business to thrive.
Books displayed in the front of the shop Brockport, NY, Oct. 1, 2023. (Photo/Christopher Lewis)
“We were busier in the lockdown than we had ever been…we were shipping and delivering more than before… I believe people really came together during this time and realized they should shop local and stick with their local businesses,” Bonczyk said.
Lift Bridge Book Shop continued to thrive until construction on the Erie Canal bridge began in late 2022.
Bonczyk noticed that his regulars would still come in, and even spend more time and money when doing so, but the effects on foot traffic were noticeable.
“During the first week of the bridge being down it at least halved our business,” Bonczyk said.
Bonczyk also noticed that the well-intentioned signs posted by the village were having limited effect on customers who reside further away from the roundabout.
“The signs around town are definitely helpful, however, we are still finding difficulty in getting those along the further detours to take a look at the businesses on Main Street,” says Bonczyk.
Lift Bridge Book Shop is not the only business affected by the bridge closing. Many other local businesses along Main Street have seen a decrease in customers. Bonczyk knows the difficulty it takes to run a business, however he encourages every business to stay hopeful and to take it day by day.
“If I could give out one message to people it would be to shop local, shop local, shop local. I know many people like myself truly appreciate every person that walks through our doors or any other local businesses doors; we are all a family.”
Construction on the Erie Canal bridge is expected to be completed by late 2024.