Sisters road work a boost for some businesses

Detour costs some merchants traffic - others gain

Sisters road work helps some stores

SISTERS, Ore. - The road is closed, the sidewalk is closed, but businesses in Sisters are open, despite a major construction project.

With such work comes traffic cones, caution tape -- and for some, chaos.

"We are getting right down to the dirt, building it up with gravel, then leveling the gravel and then getting some of the fine tuned stuff, like putting conduit in and that's the stage we are at right now with this section," ODOT Region 4 Public Information Officer Peter Murphy said Tuesday.

It can be hard to have high spirits when the dirty work is just steps from your door. But the major detour is bringing some much needed traffic to the lesser-known shops.

Angeline's Bakery has called Sisters home for more than a decade, but some people didn't even know it existed.

"A lot of folks have been asking, 'How long have you been open? Have you just opened?' And I'm like, 'No, we've been here for 17 years.' So it's been great having new customers and having some exposure," said owner Angeline Rhett.

Cars forced to take a different route through Sisters are finding new treasures on the road less traveled -- and some businesses are cashing in.

"I would definitely say business is up, and we're seeing a lot of new faces," Rhett said.

Even those on the main drag still have loyal customers, thankfully.

"This is a positive crisis - this is not a disaster," said Sisters Bakery owner Melissa Ward.

It's also forcing them to get a little creative to keep the people coming.

"My neighbor, Melvin at the health food store said I could sell donuts at the health food store," Ward said. "So the irony of it is so appealing, I'm going to try and do that."

ODOT says the end product will really pay off.

"We're going to have a really nice pavement, a wider sidewalk, we'll have trees. So it will be a much easier place to stroll, hang out and just be in Sisters," Murphy said.

Murphy says once the first phase is complete, in the next few weeks, the first three blocks of Cascade Avenue will reopen to cars. The second stage, stretching from Elm Street to Pine Street, will start in the first couple weeks of April.

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