A roll of the dice for local businesses

Entrepreneurs on Jaffa Road have mixed feelings about the opening of the light rail.

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August 20, 2011 04:00
reuben mikes place bar

reuben mikes place bar_581. (photo credit: Courtesy)

"People thought I was crazy,” says Ya’acov Levi, the owner of Na’aman Bakery on the corner of Davidka Square right next to a Jerusalem light rail stop. He recalls the reactions of his friends when he first decided to open a branch of his cafe bakery. “I already had a wine store on the other side of Davidka that had been open for four years. It was a very hard period that I went through when the light rail was being built. People didn’t come, and we lost money. I lost 50 percent of my business,” he reveals.

But Levy saw opportunity in the fact that the municipality believed that some 30,000 people would disembark from the train at the Davidka. And what better to serve those people than a cup of coffee and a pastry? For years, shops along Jaffa Road have been suffering from a massive downturn in business associated with the building of the light rail. Not only the digging up of the road caused havoc, but the transfer of bus lines to Agrippas and Hanevi’im Street took away a great deal of walk-in customers. Now, with the light rail finally scheduled to start operation, the business owners and managers are looking to the future. Some have even taken a gamble on Jaffa Road, hoping that the new railway and the depressed real estate could prove a potent combination for making money.

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