There's still no definite date as to when Route 611 between Delaware Water Gap and Portland will reopen. It's been closed since last December after a rockslide and that's cut down traffic significantly. Now a business in the borough has plans to close, and it's feared others may follow.
The beautiful drive well-known to leaf peepers along Route 611 in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is shut down this fall. The owner of Asparagus Sunshine tells us by now sales would be piling up. Instead like the leaves, the business is falling gracefully away.
Asparagus Sunshine Owner Lauren Chamberlain says, "We’re going to continue on for the next couple of months, hopefully get rid of some inventory, but then yeah December 30th we’ll be closed."
Since last December, the Route 611 closure just south of Delaware Water Gap has continued to halt foot traffic at the shop— as the work to fix the rock slide continues to be delayed.
Chamberlain says, "Labor Day Weekend was really the telltale sign for me. Like we still were relatively steady through the summer but then Labor Day Weekend, which is one of my best weekends and then the fall is usually my best time of the year, it was non-existent."
Chamberlain has tried to sustain the antique and one-of-a-kind business online and by expanding to another nearby location, but she’s reached her breaking point.
Chamberlain says, "I don’t want to sacrifice the integrity of the businesses or the integrity my life to make this work anymore. It’s just, it’s too hard."
Just down the hill from Asparagus Sunshine, the owner of The Mystical Mug continues to be thankful for each cup she’s still brewing.
The Mystical Mug Owner Kailyn Rifendifer says, "Very nervous now thinking about what those winter months are going to look like. Because last winter was really tough right after the road closure and if we have to go through another winter with that same toughness, yeah it’s going to mean cut hours for employees, it’s going to mean cut hours for business."
In February we reported the detour drove away 50 percent of her overall sales.
Rifendifer says, "Summertime and tourism really brings those numbers back up for sure. We still are not at that first couple of months that we were open."
Right now the craft coffee and espresso bar is making it work but the seemingly successful shop closing after five years is grinding everybody down.
Rifendifer says, "We love Lauren a whole lot and we’re sad to see her go. We really hope that they kind of get it together and we get this road back open so that the small businesses that are suffering can honestly like survive."
Asparagus Sunshine will have 50 percent off sales different items every weekend through December. Chamberlain appreciates all the support she’s received in Delaware Water Gap.