50-mile drive on Saturday will highlight small businesses in Orleans County
HOLLEY – A big turnout is expected on Saturday for a 50-mile trip throughout Orleans County to highlight small businesses in the community.
Adam Johnson, owner of the 39 Problems bar and restaurant in Albion, is organizing the “Cruisin’ Main Street” event. He said he has heard from many businesses who want to be involved, including some in Rochester and Buffalo.
The ride starts in Holley with vehicles urged to line up on Maziarz Drive at the Holley Business Park at about 8:30 a.m. The caravan of vehicles will leave at 9 a.m. and head to Kendall, then Carlton, Albion, Medina and end in Lyndonville. The route will pass through all four village downtown business districts and will include eight out of the 10 towns in the county. The trip is expected to take about two hours.
Johnson said many businesses are eager to reopen. They have been sidelined the pass two months and are feeling financial pressure. They are concerned about the businesses’ viability and also about their employees.
In the past eight weeks, 3,331 Orleans County residents have filed unemployment claims, which is 20 percent of the workforce in Orleans County.
Johnson urges people to be out along the route to wave and show their support (while practicing social distancing). Participants can join for the entire 50 miles or for shorter stretches.
There has been one change in the planned route. Johnson had hoped for some of the vehicles to pass by Medina Memorial Hospital to show support for the healthcare workers. But Medina Police Chief Chad Kenward and Sheriff Chris Bourke urged the group to not go down the narrow Ohio Street that leads to the hospital. They feared there would be a bottleneck and emergency vehicles would be delayed if they needed to get to the hospital.
Orleans County is in the Finger Lakes region, which was able to start phase 1 of reopening today. There are still many businesses that don’t have permission from the state to reopen. Hair salons and barbers, which are mainstays on Main Street, need to wait until phase 2.
Restaurants and food businesses can’t reopen their buildings for dine-in customers until phase 3.
Johnson said Saturday’s ride was inspired by a similar event on April 5 in Genesee County. Bruce Scofield of Scofield Roll-Off organized the “Corona Convoy” that included 160 truckers.
At the end of the cruise in Lyndonville, there will be a turnaround area, courtesy of Mizkan America. This turnaround will accommodate vehicles of all sizes. Vehicles will have the option to continue west to disperse, or turn around and disperse to the east.
“Let’s all have a good time!” Johnson posted on Facebook. “Drive safe, enjoy each other’s companionship, and drink in a little sunshine.”