The construction on the Arrigoni Bridge is killing Don Sataline’s business.
His store, It’s Only Natural Food Market, used to do a large percentage of its business in the late afternoon and early evening hours - but that’s exactly when the bridge construction brings Main Street traffic to a crawl.
“Between 4 and 6 [pm], we could basically take a European siesta”, Sataline told the city Economic Development Committee at their monthly meeting Monday night. That might sound pleasant to some, but it’s a nightmare for the market and its employees.
Based on the past 4 months of construction, Sataline estimates that his business over 12 months will be down $125,000. He’s now faced with laying off 3 staff members.
The committee heard from Sataline as they considered a resolution to make money available to North End business owners who may have to cut jobs as a result of their business being disrupted by the bridge construction. The city would use federal block grant money to help businesses retain jobs, offering as much as $35,000 for each job that could be retained. Businesses would have to open up their books and prove that the construction has caused losses leading to potential layoffs.
The committee unanimously voted to send the resolution to the Common Council. Meanwhile, Sataline says “People from Cromwell, Rocky Hill, anywhere north of us, are avoiding the North End.”
Concerned about any job losses, committee member Joe Bibisi could only offer encouragement until the Council votes on the funding. “Hang on”, he said. “Hang on tight.”