Survey Results Mixed on Metro Shutdown Affecting Alexandria Businesses

59 percent of businesses reported that their revenue since the Metro closure began on May 25 was either up or unchanged versus the same period in 2018.

The King Street Metro station. (Photo by Mike Salmon)

Alexandria, VA – The results are in, and nearly 60 percent of Alexandria businesses have been affected revenue-wise by the summer Metro shutdown. The Tempcheck Summer 2019 Survey results “suggest that the mitigation tactics as well as new initiatives and offerings have been effective in reducing negative impact to businesses,” according to the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, which partnered on the survey with Visit Alexandria, the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, the Alexandria Small Business Development Center and the city.

There were 149 respondents to the survey, which was conducted from June 14-19. Approximately two thirds of the respondents were from Old Town, and a majority were restaurant and retail.

Danielle Romanetti, the owner of fibre space at 1319 Prince St., said that her business has been seriously impacted by the shutdown. Her shop, incidentally, is near the King Street Metro station.

“For restaurants and retailers who depend heavily on regional customers (ie customer who live inside the beltway), the metro closure is hitting us particularly hard,” Romanetti said. “I am seeing that my customers in Arlington, D.C., and Bethesda are avoiding the traffic and not driving to Old Town. The closure is impacting us because it is impacting traffic, not because a chunk of our customers were previously coming on metro. Shoppers and diners generally come in cars, and an increase in traffic or the perception of traffic and parking issues will steer them away.”

In case you missed it, all of Alexandria’s Metro stations – from Braddock Road to Huntington – are shut down until September for much-needed track work.

SEE: Metrogeddon: How are you planning on getting to work?

Bill Reagan, the executive director of the Alexandria Small Business Development Center, said that it is not surprising that businesses closer to Metro stations are feeling the pinch, and that the survey served to present business leaders in the city with an understanding of the situation and potentially present short-term solutions.

“We know the shutdown presents adverse circumstances for many businesses, and the most pain is being felt by businesses by metro stations, which is not totally surprising,” Reagan said. “We’re all doing what we can to help these business mitigate the impact this is having on them.”

The survey found:

  • 59 percent of businesses reported that their revenue since the Metro closure began on May 25 was either up or unchanged versus the same period in 2018.
  • Waterfront business is thriving! 83 percent of businesses in the lower King Street portion of Old Town have seen their revenue either rise or remain unchanged, with 68% reporting revenue increases of more than 5 percent.
  • 38 percent of businesses on Upper and Middle King report revenue declines of greater than 5 percent, with most of those seeing declines of greater than 10 percent.
  • 46 percent of retailers and 43% of restaurants report that their revenue is down more than 5 percent.
  • The majority of hotels (57 percent) reported that their business is either up or unchanged.

Are you impacted by the summer Metro shutdown? Tell us about it! 

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