Cornelius businesses struggled during I-77 construction

Construction on Interstate 77’s Exit 28 put two merchants out of business, said Bill Russell, president of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, and a party supply store is about to close.

All others survived, crediting social media, special sales and longer hours. Some sent workers home early some days.

Julia Austin kept her FiFi’s Fine Resale in the Shops at Fresh Market open until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, besides the longer hours she already had on Fridays.

Jammi Allen, co-owner of the Icy Wakes shop in the Shops at Fresh Market, said her customers spread word on social media about patronizing the store. Many are high-school and college-age. “And people decided to shop locally,” she said.

Don Lempp, owner of the Whimsical Wardrobe in the Shops on the Green retail center off Torrence Chapel Road, credited the store’s presence on Facebook and a huge August sale.

“We weathered it,” he said.