PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A water main break in a busy spot of town is now beginning to impact businesses in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood.
Will O’Brien is a manager at ICI Macarons & Cafe.
“We really rely on foot traffic for our business,” O’Brien said.
Since a water main break on 3rd and Arch Streets on Jan. 7, the calm of the cafe and steady stream of customers have been replaced by massive generators powering equipment as crews attempt to fix the issue.
But store owners and residents have been told by the city that it may take two more months before the road is ready to reopen.
“It was pretty noisy. Even when I get into my apartment I can still hear the traffic,” resident Elizabeth Checchia said.
That means fewer people and fewer customers.
So the O’Briens of the world are being pressed to make ends meet.
“It’s noticeable — definitely in my own tips, I’ve seen a huge decrease,” O’Brien said. “In the past two or three weeks, my tips are probably 50% less.”
Store owners in the area of Old City say it’s one of the last remaining places in the city that’s primarily mom-and-pop shops, but they’re worried about their viability with at least two more months of reduced foot traffic.
“Thirty-five years here, never have I seen this. Never in my life,” Old City Pizza owner Pat Katourtsi said.
Katourtsi stood at the county of her pizza shop and says she had one customer come in on Sunday before 12 p.m.
And on Saturday, she had to go to the bank to withdraw enough money to pay her employees.
“Yes, I’m worried,” Katourtsi said. “I have electric, I have gas and water and phones. And the people here.”
Sidewalks are open and street patterns have changed, according to the city.
Cherry Street is now a two-way road with no parking.
Businesses are banking on people deciding to come in and parking yourself in the next two months.