Businesses along Highway 27 in Little Falls are feeling the impact of the reconstruction project.
Due to the project, which began in April, a number of businesses’ front entrances on Highway 27 are unaccessible.
Among these businesses is Baby’s On Broadway, owned by Adelle Starin.
“It definitely has affected traffic to the business. We have a lot of town business so it’s been hard for them to find even though we have adequate signage,” she said.
For Starin, all the organizations have done a lot to try and keep people coming downtown, and business owners need to try and stay positive, even if in her case business traffic has decreased by half.
“It’s a little bit staggering in terms of how much we are down,” Starin.
A person can never prepare entirely for something of this magnitude, she said.
For Starin, keeping positive is what is helping her get through the construction.
“I think that you just have to know there is an end in sight,” Starin said.
If she were to be constantly negative about this process, it would damage the mind set of staff and customers, she said.
Instead, Starin has worked to increase advertising and events like weekly drawings at the store.
“You really have to focus on how you are going to get through it and not how it is going to break you,” Starin said.
Meanwhile, on the west side of town, Lisa Bitz, owner of the Royal Cafe, is getting ready for the construction to move to her side of town.
“It’s been pretty decent so far,” Bitz said Thursday.
While the cafe has an entrance to its parking lot on Lindbergh Drive, she is unsure that that will help.
“It’s still going to be a little bit of trouble to get in here,” Bitz said.
Eating out is about convenience and if a project like this makes getting to a restaurant inconvenient for those with limited time, like workers on lunch break, they won’t come, she said.
Still, there is not much businesses can do except let contractors get their jobs done as fast as they can so everyone can get back to their business.
Minnesota Department of Transportation Project Manager Kirk Allen said crews are working to do everything they can to lessen the impact to businesses and the project is on schedule so far.
The portion of the project going from the river to First Street East should be done in August, he said.