Nearby businesses affected by downtown Denison road closure

Published: Dec. 10, 2019 at 6:12 PM CST
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It's been two months since a fire ripped through the middle of downtown Denison.

Part of the 300 block of Main Street is closed off as crews clean up the burned buildings, and surrounding businesses said they're feeling the blow from the other side.

"The fire was so tragic for the entire downtown, but especially for the 300 block," said Kathy Pryor, who owns Vintage Mercantile and 301 Mercantile on Main Street.

Her store is across the street from where the fire happened.

One or both lanes have been closed for the past couple months and Pryor said business is slower.

"The day to day is what we're struggling with. Just getting people down here like they used to where they'd park their car and just walk. You know, it's just a little bit different," Pryor said.

Brenda Neyman's carrying the weight too.

She said lots of customers think they're closed.

Her store Book Rack is behind the gate blocking the street.

"So when they see the fences up, they're a little deterred by, well I think I'll just come back later, or we can't get there or maybe they're not open," said Book Rack owner Brenda Neyman.

She said she's seen around a 25 to 30 percent decrease in sales since the fire.

"It makes you think about some of those bills you need to pay, your lease and your utilities," Neyman said.

Neyman and Pryor said they're thankful for their regular shoppers in this season of struggle.

"I really appreciate our customers because they have hung in there with us," Neyman said.

"Every week they come down and look through the store and find new goodies," Pryor said.

Both business owners said until the road is cleared, they'll keep posting to social media and relying on word of mouth.

Pryor encourages people to shop small for the holidays.

"There's a ton of wonderful Christmas items here. You know, why go to the big box stores when you can come downtown and shop small," Pryor said.

"That's all you can be though is positive that this is going to end, it's getting there," Neyman said.

The city said demolition and clean-up could take up to two months.