Chris Bassil, owner of Powerhouse Cafe (Paul Brinkmann, Orlando Sentinel / May 1, 2014)
Powerhouse Café in Winter Park is only two blocks from the new SunRail station, but the commuter train's debut early Thursday did not give it a bump in business.
Nearby, a few customers trickled into Barnie's Coffee Kitchen, which is visible from the station while Powerhouse is not.
Powerhouse owner Chris Bassil wants to know how to advertise to passengers.
“I believe I will eventually see customers I have never seen before,” Bassil said.
He applauded SunRail and the city of Winter Park for making the project happen, but he wants more information about advertising.
So far, SunRail has been working on getting the train up and running and hasn’t addressed specific plans for station advertising, said Steve Olson, FDOT public information officer.
Olson said he’s been told to refer businesses to Google Transit, an online or mobile service that lists businesses and services around public transit locations.
As of Thursday, Google Maps Transit service didn’t list SunRail as a transportation option in Winter Park. Google Maps does identify businesses around the Winter Park station.
Olson said additional plans for station advertising are possible, but that will be discussed in partnership with the four SunRail counties – Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Volusia – and city of Orlando.
He said business owners with ideas for advertising should contact local government representatives or the Evolve Design Group, a Winter Park agency that works under contract with FDOT.
Further south, at Bagel King near the Lake Mary station, General Manager Phyllis Tyers said it was a normal day for business, with a few morning rushes.
“I haven’t heard any of our customers are using SunRail, but people were talking about it,” Tyers said. “Most are saying it’s good that SunRail is here, but how do they get to work three miles away from a station.”
Bassil, who has owned Powerhouse since 1998, said he thinks SunRail could make money from advertising to support the train.