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Small Shops Set for Economic Boost in Exeter Township

LIVE BROADCAST, 69 NEWS, April 29, 2009

Economic boom or doom? A major shopping center prepares to open in Berks County and that means some family-owned stores are readying for some new neighbors. In just a few months, nationally known names like Target, Lowes, Sonic and Red Robin will open next to some locally grown businesses in Exeter Township. WFMZ’s Melissa Batulis has more from Exeter Commons on what that means for the little guys.

You can see behind me, the lights are on over the Target parking lot. Developers say it’s the latest sign of progress here at Exeter Commons, which is set to open in July. In the meantime, the many businesses here along Perkiomen Avenue have a different perspective of what this new shopping center means for them.

TYSON: Right now, business is difficult.

REPORTER: They boast a wide selection of Christian music and a good cup of coffee at Gravity in Exeter. But lately, Gravity’s owner says his business is being pulled down by the road work that’s come with Exeter Commons.

TYSON: We’ve certainly had people say that the construction’s keeping them away. They’ve found different ways to go home from work.

REPORTER: But come July and the opening of this multimillion dollar shopping center, this music shop is hoping to change its tune.

TYSON: I think it’s going to be a great thing for all of us once it opens. It can’t open fast enough for us.

KLIEWER: We’re actually very excited about our new neighbors.

REPORTER: The enthusiasm is shared across the street at K-C Auto Body. The owner of the towing company and body shop says they too are expecting more traffic, even though current construction has put a ding in some of their recent work.

KLIEWER: We’ve had a few mishaps with customers picking up cars and having a mishap when they get out on the highway.

REPORTER: While K-C is banking on the congestion giving way to more customers, the Exeter Family Restaurant unveiled a brand new look last summer…and is planning to expand parking in anticipation of a healthy serving of business soon.

NANOUH: This side of town has nothing and it’s going to definitely give it a boost.

Some Exeter Business owners have recently formed an alliance. They say they hope to include some of the national chains and work as a team to grow their businesses together.

Live in Exeter Township, Melissa Batulis, 69 News Berks Edition.