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Railroad repairs cut off Marion's Grand Slam Drive-Thru from customers over Labor Day weekend

Posted at 11:09 PM, Aug 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-31 00:43:19-04

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- The owners of Marion's Grand Slam Drive Thru expect to lose thousands of dollars over Labor Day weekend as railroad construction shuts down part of State Route 122 and cuts off their flow of customers.

It's a big hit to a family-owned business, especially one that depends on Labor Day weekend as one of its biggest yearly money-makers.

"We are kind of screwed, really," said Matt Stephens, who runs the drive-through convenience store with his brother, Andy. "It hurts us bad because we are a small business."

The CSX corporation, which owns the nearby railroad, will spend part of the weekend replacing crossties, the wooden planks that support the rails, and re-paving train crossings to make them smoother for drivers. 

A spokeswoman said the project had originally been scheduled to start Monday but moved back to Thursday due to problems with the availability of necessary materials. 

Andy Stephens said he didn't understand why the project would land in late August at all.

"School is in session," he said. "They had all summer to do it."

The construction won't leave them totally estranged from customers -- detours will be available around the closed portion of road -- but the Stephens' business is built on convenience. They worry five-to-ten-minute detours are inconvenient enough to make potential customers decide it's not worth the effort of stopping by.

The brothers planned to remain closed Friday and wrote on Facebook they hoped to be open again Saturday morning. Although they haven't taken any legal action against CSX, the pair said they would like to be compensated for what they projected would be around $15,000 in lost income. 

"We try to do the best we can," Matt Stephens said. "And it's hurt us right now."