Revitalizing downtown Rochester



Business owners are gearing up for a long summer as construction begins in Downtown Rochester.

The $7.6 million project, which broke ground on April 2, is scheduled to take place from April until November, according the Michigan Department of Transportation, with the full closure of Main Street from University Drive to Second Street happening from May until July.

With such a long period of closure, business owners are preparing for the possibility of decreased business as access to buildings is hampered by the construction, as well as delays caused by a Native American burial ground located under Home Bakery.

Lydia Bates, manager at The Bean and Leaf Cafe, said she’s looking on the bright side.

“We are hopeful and trying to stay positive,”  Bates said. “But it should be (a) very good investment.”

Nichole Schulte-Franey, one of the owners of Holy Cannoli and an OU alumn, agrees that it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

“We’re not worried at all,” she said. “Our hours are long-term hours so that way people can ?nd us, and we’re open late night so that way foot-traf?c can ?nd us.”

Along with cosmetic changes, the Rochester Downtown Development Authority has also budgeted for changes and upgrades to infrastructure. According to a DDA ?yer distributed to residents and available online, there are plans to upgrade utility service along the street, making a lot of business owners happy.

“It’s going to be so beautiful,” said Megan Stitzel, co-owner of Rusted Roots Salon. “And maybe we’ll have better water pressure, too.”

However the construction still poses an inconvenience to business owners, mostly in regards to parking and access.

According to the DDA, “All parking lots will remain open during the project. The only parking spots not available will be the 94 spaces on Main Street.”

But some business owners are still concerned.

“Parking is going to be a problem, that is one thing that they’re kind of … you know … looking at,” Schulte-Franey said.

The owners of the small bakery are putting their heads together to come up with a solution as to how people can access their business without walking through their small kitchen.

“We’re thinking of doing a curb-side service,” Schulte-Franey said. “So (customers) can call ahead, drive through the alley, pull up to our back door and we’ll take out whatever it is they are looking for.”

Yet, when asked about the long-term gains for Downtown Rochester, business owners were unanimous in voicing their support for the project.

“I think the potential development of how the setting is going to look will be beneficial for sure,” Franey-Schulte said. “The DDA and the (Chamber of Commerce) does a great job of bringing people downtown.

For more information on the

businesses mentioned in this story, store closing and updates on construction, visit


Contact Staff Intern Stefan Pelak via email at [email protected]