STORMSTOWN - Dustin Weaver has worked Saturdays at the Uni-Mart at routes 550 and 322 in the time leading up to Penn State home games this season, and he has been bored.
"Literally, I have nothing to do sometimes," Weaver of Tyrone said. "I'd rather be busy, because it definitely makes the day go faster."
It hadn't been like this a few seasons ago, before Interstate 99 opened in December 2008 and drew many Penn State fans traveling to the game from the formerly popular Route 550 shortcut.
Mirror photo by Scott Muska
Dustin Weaver waits for customers on a slow day at the Uni-Mart at routes 322 and 550 in Stormstown.
Weaver worked at the Uni-Mart in Port Matilda before the road opened, then he transferred to a store in Tyrone.
He came back this year and said the decline in business is noticeable all the time, but is especially evident on home game Saturdays.
"I'd say it's got to be hurting business a little bit, especially on those days, because there used to be so many cars going by and now there's a lot less," Weaver said. "Even customers say they notice that it's less busy since I-99 opened."
Your guide to the game
Penn State vs. Michigan State
Location: Beaver Stadium
Records: Penn State (7-4), Michigan State (10-1)
Radio: ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM
Matt Rosengrant, a freshman at Penn State, used to sell hoagies outside of Grays United Methodist Church along Route 550 with his Boy Scout troop to help fulfill his Eagle Scout requirements, and to raise funds for various troop activities.
He began selling them after the interstate had opened, and said they still get a pretty steady flow of customers passing by and purchasing hoagies. Some buy 20 or so apiece to supply their entire tailgates, he said.
"On our best day we sold out of our supply of about 200 hoagies by 1:30 [p.m.]," Rosengrant said.
Current members of the troop continue to make hoagies in the church basement and sell them out by the road, he said.
One of the biggest businesses along the shortcut route is Way Fruit Farm, and co-owner Jason Coopey said his business is fortunate and hasn't seen any difference on game days.
Coopey had been pleasantly surprised that they hadn't been hurt by the opening of the interstate, he said, and added that business has been so steady they "can't really even tell" when it's game day.
"Even though it's not really a shortcut anymore, we still get a lot of folks who like to take the route anyway and stop in," Coopey said. "We're lucky that they've included us in their pregame ritual."
Mirror Staff Writer Scott Muska is at 946-7435.