Small business losing 60% of sales due to Brightline construction, Melbourne store says

High-speed passenger railroad project closes roads for a year

MELBOURNE, Fla. – Months of roadblocks, detours and fears of lost customers are impacting small businesses bordering Brightline’s future railroad bridge through downtown Melbourne.

A tackle shop, a food truck and a restaurant are all still open since construction began in July, but Rigg’s Outpost manager Brachan Wright said nearly 2/3 of his business is lost.

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‘’We’re a much smaller operation, a little bit harder to find to begin with as it is,’’ Wright said. ‘’A lot of people that are keeping us alive right now are our locals who know where we are, know how to find us.”

Customers like Kim Shellenback keep the businesses optimistic they will survive an expected year of construction.

To pull through right now though, Rigg’s Outpost said it’s getting ready to cut back hours for employees.

‘’We’re doing everything that we can to keep on going here,’’ Wright said. ‘’We’re keeping stocked up with all of our inventory and still trying to draw in what business we can.’’

Shellenback, who ate at HogSnappers food truck Wednesday, said even with the road closure, the businesses are not hard to get to.

‘’There are some cones around and some orange flags but you can get here, no problem,’’ she said.

Along with the businesses and their customers, the city of Melbourne is reminding the public the stores are open throughout construction. Construction is not expected to end until June next year.

Brightline issued a statement on the construction:

“We certainly understand that the closure of Melbourne Avenue is not ideal and we are working to complete the work as efficiently as possible. In the meantime, while work is underway, we have posted additional signs and adjusted the closure area to make it easier for customers to get access to local businesses.”

About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.