George Shube at Shubie’s Marketplace said that because summer is “prime time” for his business, it was challenging, but his customers have been slowly returning for the holiday season.
”It was every bit as bad as I feared,” he said.
But he said he was impressed with the support he and other businesses have received.
”People are remarkably loyal, and they really went out of their way to get down here and support not only Shubie’s but the other businesses on the street,” he said.
Deb Pesanti Payson, executive director of the Marblehead Chamber of Commerce, agreed it was a tough summer.
”I am hearing the project had a devastating impact on our storefronts,” she said. “People were shopping less because it was very challenging to get downtown.”
Payson said the town and the contractors worked with merchants to come up with ways to mitigate the impact.
McHugh said phase two of the project will focus on Pleasant, School and Sewall streets, while phase three will cover Evans Road, Roosevelt Avenue and Curtis Street. The work is expected to last into 2015.
While the phases were initially set to go in that order, it is unknown which will end up going first, she said.
”We have a month to decide which phase will go out,” McHugh said.
Both Strout and Shube said they hope the work under phase three will happen this coming summer to provide some relief to the business district.
”It won’t be as challenging as last summer,” Shube said, “but it will certainly block access to town.”
Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.