BUSINESS certainly hasn’t been booming for an Umberleigh firework company following the closure of a seven-mile stretch of the A377 road.
Oliver Ackland, owner of Brightburst Fireworks on the Atherington junction, said since the main road had been closed for works at Kingford Road, he had lost almost half of his trade from passing cars.
And this loss came as a surprise to Oliver, who said he was given no prior warning that the road would be closed.
He said: “The first I heard about it was when the diversion signs went up, the council didn’t even give us a courtesy call or drop a letter through our door.
“We are barely scraping half of what we have normally shifted by now.”
The stretch of road is not due to reopen until at least October 29, which will run extremely close to one of Oliver’s busiest times – bonfire night.
“We are a very seasonal business and cannot afford to just sit on stock, especially at this time of year,” he said.
“Everyone is being diverted through South Molton and we are really missing the passing trade.
“Last Saturday I counted 10 cars go by the entire day.”
And it is not just Brightburst Fireworks that has been affected.
Oliver’s partner Cathy Seage owns Kaffs Kitchen, which operates from the same site.
Cathy said the closure has left her business in a similar situation and she had also seen a major drop in sales.
Gerald Colwill, owner of Murco Petrol Station on the A377, said he too had seen a drop in trade.
“The closure has quite seriously affected the business, there is no doubt about that,” he said.
“We have seen a drop of 20 per cent and we still have more than four weeks to go.”
A Devon County Council spokesman said: “While there is a diversion in place, businesses can still be accessed as none are within the 200-metre closure.
“The road embankment had subsided into the river and carriageway stabilisation works need to be carried out urgently prior to the onset of winter weather and increasing flows in the river.
“The contractor is working weekends in order to complete this essential maintenance work as quickly as possible.”