Shoppers are back on Main Street in Wappingers Falls after the street was shut down for two weeks. A Thanksgiving morning building collapse forced ten apartments to evacuate and shut down a block of the street. YNN's John Wagner has more on how the road re-opening is bringing in much needed business downtown.
WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. -- Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and two weeks of frenzied holiday shopping made no appearance to Wappingers' cash starved downtown. A partial building collapse and safety concerns forced Main Street and around 30 businesses closed.
"That first weekend was just an utter disaster for us," said Corsino Cakes owner Derek Corsino. "We lost thousands of dollars on refunds and credits on some cakes."
Fifteen thousand cars normally drive through downtown each day. Derek Corsino's cake shop was one of the first cleared to reopen, just two days after the collapse. But with Main Street closed to traffic for two weeks, customers were nowhere to be found.
"It's really hitting us hard. Some people are thinking about relocating," said Corsino.
"I had to throw away everything in my refrigerator, a lot of food spoilage and you lost business," said Peter Petralia, owner of Wagon Wheel Pizza.
Desperate times call for hopeful measures. The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting Monday trying to get holiday shoppers thinking local first. Poughkeepsie's Galleria Mall, the county's biggest, sits just two miles away from Main Street's boutiques.
"Stop here in Wappingers," said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. "Invest your resources, make a few purchases and make a true difference in the life of a community."
"We were cut off in the midst of a busy Christmas season. It looked like it'd be the one that'd be the pickup season after so many years of a bad economy," said the Village of Wappingers Falls Mayor Matt Alexander.
The collapse destroyed the Falls Diner, wiping out around 15 jobs. Business needs to pick up soon or more may be lost.
"We use the holiday season to get through the winter," said Derek Corsino. "We need their help. We need them to come down here or a lot of these businesses won't be open this spring."
Although two full weeks of business were lost, there's still two full weeks for shopping before Christmas.