Customers find alternate routes to businesses around Hampton
By Deborah Deasy
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Grocers Joel and Wayne Wagner deeply appreciate everyone who still shops at their Hampton food store amid the ongoing closure of Middle Road near the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The brothers worried when the road closed in March — about half a mile from their Wagner's Market — while crews replaced a bridge.
Since then, some motorists have used a 5.2-mile posted detour to shop at Wagner's Market until the bridge reopens next month.
“We've been pleasantly surprised by the support our customers gave us,” Joel Wagner said. “There are a lot of customers that made the detour. We're thankful for them.”
Top sellers at Wagner's Market in Middle Road Plaza include McElhinny corn, Schneider's milk and Perfect Pastry cookies, plus, the store's homemade chicken salad, pirogi, meatloaf, sausage and banana bread.
“You can't find these places anymore,” Mary O'Sell of Indiana Township said after taking Route 910, rather than Middle Road, to buy chicken salad and meatloaf at Wagner's Market.
“When you find something you really like, you will go out of your way,” O'Sell said.
Barbers Lisa Allasia and Nancy Patrus of Middle Road Barber Shop also reported a less-than-dramatic drop in customers at their business in Middle Road Plaza.
“They have gone out of their way to come to us,” said Allasia, who will become the shop's new owner on Oct. 1
Allasia reported an approximately $100 drop in weekly revenue at the shop since Middle Road closed in March.
“We're doing about 15 percent less (business) said Patrus, manager of the shop, which welcomes men, women and children.
“We've been here 30 years ... We're very busy.” Patrus said. “Our customers are very loyal. “
They include Laura Andrews, a Hampton mother of two sons, ages 13 and 7, and a 4-year-old daughter.
“I've been coming to this place for 12 years,” Andrews said.
But Patrus and Allasia noticed fewer first-timers in recent months at Middle Road Barber Shop.
“We miss the drive-by traffic,” Patrus said.
Like the Wagners, Patrus and Allasia look forward to the reported Oct. 4 reopening of Middle Road over the turnpike.
At Messina's Pizzeria, another business in Middle Road Plaza, the bridge replacement project affected business only “a little bit,” said Domenic Serratore.
“We still have all these housing plans around here,” said Serratore, son of Frank Serratore, owner of the pizzeria.
But the closure of Middle Road has driven up gasoline bills for the shop's delivery drivers.
“A 5-mile trip turns into 10- or 12-mile one,” said Domenic Serratore. “That's the only bad thing.”
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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