Main Street businesses in Cedaredge are using a variety of strategies for toughing out declines in business that have come in the wake of street construction work that began last month.
And although the town government and the Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce have made efforts to make locals aware that downtown is still open and accessible, customers have been avoiding businesses during the work and their absence is being felt.
A new business on Main Street open since April, the Wagon Wheel restaurant is cutting back on its business hours to lower its costs. "It was either cut hours or close permanently," said owner Patrece Reed, adding that business is down 25 to 40 percent.
The restaurant's temporary new hours taken from a notice posted in the front window are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
At the other end of Main Street another restaurant, Mama Lisa's, owner Lisa Carr is looking to the future. "Yes it (construction) has hurt business. But," she adds with emphasis, "we are so excited about how it will look when it's finished!"
Lisa's mom, Donnie, works with her in the restaurant and realizes, "It (the construction work) had to be done."
There was a big drop off in business immediately following the start of construction. But Lisa and Donnie took that as an opportunity for time away and closed for a week at the beginning of the project when the hit to business was most noticeable. "The first three weeks were rough," Donnie said.
Mama Lisa's has had to "tighten our belt" to cope with business that dropped by half, they said. Lisa and Donnie feel fortunate that they still have parking nearby, and they are already seeing their lunchtime business come back to normal, pre-construction levels, Donnie said. They are looking forward now to the project's completion.
Joan Woolley at Gazebo Florist has been spared some impacts of construction in front of her building, partly because of her location at the intersection of Main Street and Grand Mesa Drive. Her business has two entrances; one on Main and the other on Grand Mesa Drive which hasn't yet been disturbed by street work.
Also, her floral business benefits by wire orders from out of the area for local delivery. That business isn't affected by any decline in walk-in trade.
Also, the street work hasn't hit during her biggest seasons, which are Mother's Day and Christmas. Her business also has other lines of boutique merchandise and quality antiques.
Woolley is concerned, however, about the town's planned "enhancement project" scheduled for next year. That pro-ject will involve a re-construction of the intersection at Main and Grand Mesa Drive. Woolley's store will lose two handy and much-used close-in parking spaces when that project is complete.
"We need parking downtown," she said, and she concedes that at least sparse parking is a problem created by the fact that customers are trying to get to local businesses.
At Sunset Graphics printing they are "making the best of a bad situation," office staff said.
The print shop has a sign in the window advising customers that its business hours may have to be adjusted according to construction work. They don't have any off-street parking nearby and there is no back entrance for customers to use. But, management feels fortunate that a lot of their business is conducted "electronically" using the Internet and that business has held up.
At the Wagon Wheel, parking and access to the business has been a problem, Patrece Reed explained. There is parking available during construction in front of the restaurant, but that will go away when work shifts to the north side of Main Street.
Neighboring businesses have offered to let her customers use their parking areas. But, Reed points out, that involves having to walk through an uneven graveled alleyway which can be a barrier to the elderly.
The construction cut severely into business she was expecting to get from the Serenity Run, she said. "The restaurants along the highway did great," she said. "But they (Serenity Run riders) didn't want to turn onto Main Street because of the construction."
She also echoes the opinion of others that the street work should have been split into two phases: an early spring phase to do one side of the street, then a late phase after AppleFest with a summer break in between. Summer should be a busy season for her, she said.
From a construction standpoint, phasing could increase costs of the work, delay completion, and leave Main Street disrupted for a longer period.
"What are you going to do?" Patrece asks "We're doing what we can."
The town government and the Chamber of Commerce have made efforts to keep local residents aware that Main Street businesses are open and that parking is available. Some signage and web page notices have been set up in an effort to help.
During a tour of the Main Street project last Friday, senior citizen customers were observed in the two hair style salons. The Methodist Thrift Shop was busy with customers where a volunteer said that business was "good."blog comments powered by Disqus