Business Comes Back from Reno's New Bridge - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Business Comes Back from Reno's New Bridge

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Few people are as happy to see the reopening of Virginia Street as business owners at the river are. A few footsteps from where the "road closed" signs stood, business is about to boom again at Reef Sushi and Sake. Owner Heejin Polon told us,  "We have a full staff and we are ready. We're ready for a big day today."

For Heejin, it's a day a long time coming. A day just like the ones when folks could drive across the river on south Virginia Street. As she told us, "Every Friday and Saturday night here used to be date night. It would be, just so, so many people. But last year we really saw a big drop."

The closure of Virginia Street was the second punch in as many years for Wild River Grill owner Chuck Shapiro. His upscale restaurant got through the great recession…and now the great Virginia Street closure too. As he put it, "Yeah, it’s a big sign of relief. And pleasure, because it came out so good. The bridge came out great."

Instead of his usual dinner crowd, Charles saw an immediate drop once the barricades went up. Some customers decided to not to fight their way through an alternate route. He estimates he lost…well, he won't say how much, but it was a definite hit. As he told us, "That might have been 20, 30 people a day of a decline, yes." It left him feeling a bit…left behind. But today, as he told us, "They got it done early. That was one of our concerns, because they said it might take 2 summers."

For some, even one summer is a knockout blow. A year-long major road closure can put a shop out of business. We've seen it happen before…and it happened downtown by the river too. But today at Reef, both Josh and Heejin are looking forward to something crossing the bridge again. As Josh told me, “I think we're going to see a lot of money crossing the bridge, right down the river."

Meanwhile, Heejin introduced a special "bridge" roll today: crab, seared tuna and shrimp. And across the river, Charles Shapiro takes in a long awaited sight. Looking over the arched, sparkling new bridge, he told us, "I think they did a great job."

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