Bypassed By The New Road, Things Are Looking Up For Old 395 Businesses

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RENO, NV - A week ago motorists were enjoying a faster commute on the new I580 extension between the Mount Rose Highway and Washoe Valley.

Down below small businesses in Old Washoe City had little to cheer about.

They'd expected a big drop in traffic. They hadn't expected the access problems they suddenly were left with.

NDOT opened the new freeway without completing the Bowers Mansion Interchange.

Access from the south meant a long detour beginning at Bellvue. Access from the north was possible, but for days NDOT signs told motorists the road was closed.

They were isolated in fact and perception. Business was down by 90 percent.

Kelly Peitz at the Old 395 gas station, store and deli doubted she could hold on for more than a week or so.

"It was looking pretty grim," she says. "and then after your (KOLO 8 News Now) piece there was a tremendous outpouring from the community.

Acutally a number of things happened. There's still a long detour from the south, but at least it's now fully signed.

Anyone trying to get to the Chocolate Nugget still faces a confusing barrier of orange cones, but there's a sign telling you its OK to try.

Peitz' gas vendor adjusted their delivery requirements, her landlord waived rent for the time being and a whole lot of people like Cori Meyer stopped by.

"I live in Washoe Valley and I wanted to support a local business that was in trouble through no fault of their own,"

Meyer told us she had never stopped at Peitz' business before. Now it's a regular stop.

"People are just pouring in saying they want to help," says Peitz. "So whether they're bringing their dollar here I know they're trying to."

Down the street at the Chocolate Nugget they say it's been pretty much the same. People saw the story, heard about the problem and made the trip, coming from as far away as Gardnerville.

They say they had a great weekend.

No one knows what will happen when the interchange is completed some time next month, but it can only get better.

"When people have access to the new freeway and the old freeway and they can choose and we still can't make it that's different," says Peistz. "When they're both opened up and they can choose I think the community will support us. I'm very hopeful.".