“Many people have to go through Norman to go around the bridge to get gas. They stop there,” Lobaugh said.
Lobaugh noted that the decline in business isn’t limited to just gasoline sales.
“Many times when people stop in, they get gum, chips and drinks. Overall, sales are a lot less,” Lobaugh said.
Sales are up at Lexington Gas-N-Go in one area, Lobaugh said.
“We serve food. It offsets a little bit. Before, they would go across the bridge. There’s a lot of those restaurants that have almost closed down or are opened half the time,” Lobaugh said.
One restaurant across the bridge that is struggling for business is the Railhead Diner in Purcell, the first business directly across the bridge. Courtney Holmes moved from Okeechobee, Fla., to help her mother, Christy King, manage the Railhead Diner in January. King purchased the diner in September.
Holmes and King say they have lost $4,500 since February. The Railway Diner is the sole source of income for both of them.
“We’ve barely been able to pay our food and waitstaff. We have had to cut back on our waitstaff. We had seven waiters before the bridge closed,” Holmes said.
The pair has faced additional hardships due to King being a single mother and both women residing in Lexington. Holmes estimates they are both spending $140 each week in gasoline to commute from Lexington to Purcell to operate the diner and to take care of their children.
Holmes never envisioned that the once bustling diner in January would lack customers in April.
“We thought everything was going to go great, then the bridge shut down. You can’t see something like that happening,” Holmes said.
’89er day celebration: The water tower in Lexington is painted with a reminder of the significance and value that the 1889 land run has to the town. Despite the historical significance and value, McCown said city leaders originally considered postponing the ’89er event.