Gray Medlin: Street closures hurt businesses

April 17, 2014 

First, I am a big supporter of local businesses in Raleigh. They make our city special and unique. My family has started and operated four businesses here, beginning in 1948. That is why I am concerned with the frequency of street closings and the negative effect on local businesses.

Our cafe is on Glenwood South, which has been closed three times in the last six weeks. Each of these closings occurred on weekend days: two Saturdays and most recently most of April 13 for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Weekends are our “prime time.” We estimate that the marathon-related closing cost us approximately $1,000 in sales, not an insignificant amount for a small business.

Some events are for good causes; others are poorly planned, sparsely attended events that are clearly self-serving promotions of one or two merchants in the neighborhood. In either case, I see little consideration given for the affected businesses. This has been happening for our entire 12 years, and we have not been consulted beforehand in a single case.

I suggest that the City Council require event promoters to consult with affected businesses in the permit application process and become much more selective in permitting street closures.

Gray Medlin

Cafe Helios, Raleigh

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