By Bryan Corliss
There’s a regular crowd that comes in after work each Monday at the bar at Anthony’s Homeport restaurant on the Everett waterfront.
On Monday night, the regulars finished their happy hour, paid up and headed for home as usual, said Tami Lovell, an Anthony’s manager. Then they saw the traffic jam through downtown Everett.
"All of them turned around and came back here to the restaurant for dinner," Lovell said.
The traffic tie-ups this week, related to bridge work on Highway 529, have boosted some business like Anthony’s and battered others.
Some places — like the Flying Pig on Colby Avenue — are seeing a definite surge from people seeking to kill some time in hopes traffic will clear out.
"We’re hearing it. Absolutely," said brewpub owner Joel Silver. "People are just going to wait it out, and they’re picking the bars."
But others said the backup has made customers back off.
"People can’t get in here," said Jeff Hegland, manager of Buck’s American Cafe on Hewitt Avenue, a primary detour route for Highway 529 commuters.
Wick-Ed Cellars owner Jeff Wicklund agreed. Afternoon business is slow, and those who do make it in complain of horrific traffic. On Monday, one man said it took him 45 minutes to go less than three blocks down Colby Avenue. "He needed wine by that point," Wicklund said.
Wicklund hopes to cash in on the delays. He’s got a sandwich board in the works that will advise gridlocked drivers to "quit whining about traffic" and come in to buy wine.
Across Colby from Wicklund, J. Matheson Gifts owner Judy Matheson said she has talked to a few evening customers who decided to park and shop. If it continues, she may keep the shop open later, she said.
For some businesses, the traffic’s been both a blessing and a bother. Aloha Tan on Everett Avenue is one.
The good news is that afternoon and evening bookings are up, said employee Jacque White. "What else is there to do unless you get off (work) at noon and get an early jump on it?"
The bad news? A couple of the tanning beds are out, she said Wednesday afternoon, and the repair person was stuck in traffic.
You can call Herald Writer Bryan Corliss at 425-339-3454
or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.