Waukesha road construction threatens business at John's Drive-In

Owner says sales are down 60% to 70%
Posted at 1:05 PM, May 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-22 14:26:37-04
Construction on Waukesha's Arcadian Ave. is causing a headache for a local business owner. 
John's Drive-In (also known as John's Root Beer) has been a Waukesha institution since 1937. 
John Meehean, the current owner, bought the business more than 26 years ago but for the first time, he's having a hard time attracting customers. 
"It's been terrible so far," Meehean said. "My sales have been down 60, maybe 70 percent." 
That's because John's Drive-In sits right on Arcadian Avenue. The road in front of it is under construction, and city officials said that will be the case through October 13. 
It's closed to thru traffic. According to the city engineering department, local traffic headed to nearby businesses and homes can still get through. 
But Meehean is worried those drivers will be deterred by the construction and large signs. 
"People see that, and they don't want to deal with that," he said. 
The project to re-pave Arcadian Avenue was badly needed, according to city officials, because the road was run down.
Over the weekend, Meehean's daughter posted a plea for business on Facebook. 

He credits that social media activity for a record-breaking day of business on Sunday. 
"It was unbelievable. It pulled at my heart strings," Meehean said. "It was just good to see so many people come out." 
He's hopeful the crowds will keep coming as construction picks up. Meehean said he typically hires 10 seasonal workers - mostly students - for help during summer's high season. 
Meehean said he would likely have to let some of them go if business doesn't increase. 
"Hopefully I can keep it all going," Meehean said. 
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