‘Right now we try to survive’: Farmers market construction keeping customers away


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Construction is still underway on the 17th Street Farmers Market in downtown Richmond and continues to frustrate local business owners. 

The work continues despite the East End Festival scheduled to take place there this weekend.

EnRichmond, who organizes the event, says the festival is still on.

Instead, it will be held in the parking lot next to the construction site.

Meanwhile, it is still unclear when the Farmers Market will be complete.

Businesses in the area say they are feeling the impact of the delay.

“It looks closed when you see from outside from Main Street or Franklin,” said Dil Bitew, Owner of Addis Ethiopian Restaurant.

“The fence makes it look closed so most people complain about this,” Bitew told 8News. 

Addis sits feet from the fence that’s been blocking off the construction at the 17th Street Farmers Market.

“It’s a slow process,” said Bitew.

“We were told it would be done by May.”

The City’s project manager for the Farmers Market, Jeannie Welliver, tells 8News progress is being made.

This week she said much of the concrete is in place. But on Wednesday, 8News saw mostly dirt and gravel being pushed around.

“We’re down by 70 percent,” said Bitew, whose customers see the construction each day out the windows of his restaurant.

“So, we’re only hoping when they finish it will be good, But right now we try to survive.”

Addis has a plea to hungry customers in Richmond, despite the construction.

“I wanna tell the people we’re open,” said Bitew.

“7 days a week.”

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