Plymouth Business Owner Hoping to Survive Rockford Road Bridge Project
Interstate Highway 494 and Rockford Road has been a cone zone since early June. Since then some business owners are seeing profits in the red because of too much orange.
“My business is definitely down,” said Raj Kumar, owner of Dufner’s Deli. “It is 30 to 35 percent down already.”
A new Rockford Road bridge going up has contributed to the travel headaches. Getting to Dufner’s Deli requires a lengthy detour. Driving the entire detour loop takes roughly 15 to 20 minutes.
“I have no idea what’s going to happen,” Kumar said. “For the next three months I need at least $33,000. My expenses average each month $12,000.”
Hoping to Survive
Dufner’s Deli has been a Plymouth staple for 36 years. Kumar has owned the business since 2014. Construction on the bridge will continue until mid-October and Kumar doesn’t know if his business can survive.
“I’m hoping I can,” Kumar said. “My customers are helping me. The man above is helping me too. I have strong beliefs. Who knows what’s gonna happen the next couple weeks.”
“I’ve been thinking about him,” said Lara Newberger, who occasionally goes to Dufner’s. “I’m like I gotta go there, but it’s a hassle to get over there.”
Despite the challenges, the likable Kumar remains upbeat and his loyal customers are pulling for him.
“I know he’s a small business,” Newberger said. “This road is important to him and when people aren’t traveling on that road it’s because it takes extra time to slip in there. There’s other places to go.”
The city of Plymouth gives Kumar frequent updates on the construction progress and he says they have been supportive.
“They bring their staff here to have lunch,” Kumar said.
But he does wonder why this project wasn’t part of recent I-494 construction.
“I wish they were done when 494 was closed for over eight, nine, 10 months,” Kumar said. “They did the bridges, 6, 55, why not 9 at that time?”