Roane Medical Center's move to Midtown hurting Harriman businesses

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HARRIMAN, Tenn. (WVLT) -- DiAnn's Spot Cafe in downtown Harriman was empty on Wednesday.

"I've had three orders today. I've been here since 6:30 this morning. It's probably about noon-time," said owner DiAnn Tronsor.

Business is down 95 percent since the Roane Medical Center moved to Midtown on Sunday.

"I am in a terrified state. When you know you have to make a certain amount of dollars to keep a business going and you know you're not making even a tenth of it - if you're not worried, you're crazy!" said Tronsor.

Red Door Antiquities up the street is worried, too. The hospital meant a steady stream of customers - from employees on their breaks to people buying gifts for sick loved ones.

"After my husband died, I didn't want to have to go back to a real job - this has been a really great thing for me to do. I want to be able to do this and keep the business going. We have people who just love us and would miss us terribly if we did have to go," said Nancy Jacoby, who owns the store.

The Pizza Station said it had a 50 percent drop in lunchtime sales when doctors began moving into their new offices about six months ago.

"You can only go so low on your prices and still make a profit and be able to pay your bills and your employees," said owner Jack Wiseman.

As for Tronsor, she's let her help go.

"When you gotta pinch pennies, you gotta pinch pennies. Everybody knows how that is," she said.

But she's worried it won't be long before she's down to her last penny.

Mayor Chris Mason said he's still trying to get a VA hospital in the old Roane Medical Center. He also said he's had calls from 11 different developers. Those interested in touring and making offers on any of the 13 medical buildings will be able to do so in May.

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