Sheridan business owner says new highway will hurt revenue

SHERIDAN (KATV) - Small business owners in a Grant County town worry that their profits may take a hit because of a new highway opening soon.

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department has been working on a new bypass in Sheridan that would alleviate the traffic going through the city. But one business owner says that traffic translates into dollars for them.

"We get a lot of locals, but the cross traffic is what really brings in the money here," said Jeanne Hess, owner of Needful Things.

Most people would call this traffic a headache. But if you're a business owner like Hess, each car means potential customers and revenue, even more of it during deer hunting season.

"You won't be able to get out my driveway here this way, you're going to have to go out this way and go around the block," she said.

But Hess worries this stream of profit may take a hit with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department's 5-year project finishing up this year. It will be a 4-lane divided bypass on Highway 167, all part of the department's larger plan to widen the highway.

"There's not enough room in the city limits where 167 goes through the city to add additional limits without impacting the local businesses," said Danny Straessle, with AHTD. "We do not want to impact the local businesses at all."

Hess says it's wishful thinking.

"A lot of people, you know, they go by they see the place that's when they stop," said Hess. "If they can't see it, they're going to go right on because they don't know it's here."

And she can only hope people will remember the shops they'd often drive by during their long commutes.

The highway department says it hopes to open the highway by the end of the year.