ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A lot of businesses near the new bridge Broad Avenue Memorial Bridge are hoping it will give them a boost in business.
Reconstructing the bridge was a $12 million project, but downtown businesses agree it was worth every penny.
Troychelle Gaines, owner of Diva's has been eagerly awaiting the opening of the new bridge since she opened her clothing boutique 3 years ago.
"I didn't think the bridge would take that long to open. But that was my hope, when this bridge opens it's going to bring more traffic and increase business," said Gaines.
She expects an increase in customers. Without a river crossing on Broad Avenue, she said many potential customers never noticed her store.
"People who weren't able to come this way can now come this way. And they will be able to see what we have going on down here. And I'm praying, hoping and believing, that it's going to make the difference," explained Gaines.
Joel Davis opened Davpro Wireless on Broad Avenue just over a month ago.
The Albany native remembered how Albany's downtown used to be with two bridges over the Flint, "If you wanted to get something done, you'd come downtown. If you wanted to spend some money, you wanted to buy a new pair of shoes, you had to come downtown. But when the bridge closed and businesses started leaving from downtown and going out West and North, it just deteriorated."
He knows that the heightened visibility will play a role in boosting business.
"To put something like that centrally located downtown with the police department and all these other businesses and all these other office buildings around here, I believe it can offer a value to the customer," said Davis.
Both store owners hope the bridge will give all of downtown a boost.
"The profit center is there, because it's going elsewhere. because people still do that stuff, they just do it in other parts of the city or they do it in another county," said Davis.
"We've been saying that it's going to make a difference, I just hope and pray that it does make a difference. I don't see why it shouldn't make a difference. This is a main vein," explained Gaines.
A vein she believes will pump plenty of dollars back into the community.