LEXINGTON, Okla. – The closing of the Lexington-Purcell bridge put a big burden on folks there.
Suddenly, a three minute drive to the next city to grocery shop, to bank, to go to the doctor turned into a 45 minute trip.
Many businesses struggled while the bridge was out.
Now the bridge is open.
The sound of cars passing Cole’s Plant Farm is a joyful noise to Ray Cole.
“You could have had a revival in the middle of the highway,” said Cole.
Back when the bridge was closed, it was quiet. So was the business he started 20 years ago.
“I thought my legacy was gone,” said Cole.
Four months passed, The Department of Transportation worked to fix the brittle bridge, and everyday Cole and his family lost out.
“Oh, God. I didn’t know if we was going to make it or not,” he said.
Some days they lost as much as 95 percent of their profit.
They went from making up to $1,200 daily on some days to making $100.
“That won’t even cover the bills of staying open,” he explained, especially for a seasonal business that operates from February to June.
Finally, the bridge opened. Cole says he’ll never forget his first trip across the newly finished bridge.
“I said, ‘My God! It feels like I’ve been sprung from prison.’,” said Cole.
Cole’s made $600 that day, and the customers keep coming.
“It was breathtaking to us,” said employee Traci Cole. “It was almost like this will ease up. Maybe it will be okay now.”
However, plant season is almost over. The family has 15 days left to make a comeback because the end of June marks the end of their season.