Businesses cope with construction

Samantha Huerta / Staff writer

Corpus Christi Streets normally run smooth but they can be bumpy like a roller coaster.
In 2010 when work began on South Staples St., some business owners were informed while others said they were left to find out about the construction on their own.
“We were not informed about it personally. It was on the news when we saw our business was going to be affected by it. We did not like the idea of it,” said Letty Velasquez, manager of Supercuts.
From one day to the next, the typical drive down Staples and Doddridge changed from a normal street to a street with sections filled with orange cones and numerous signs.
“They never told anyone about closing down Doddridge Street. It was closed down for almost one year. I was really concerned,” said Ross Beurney, owner of O Gosh.
While the majority of Corpus Christi residents view street repairs as a positive outcome, several business owners said they are negatively impacted.
According to Brad Adams, manager of Sutherlands Lumber, “It hurts. It is great for Corpus but tough for the business.”
After beginning the construction, City of Corpus Christi officials were able to provide a sign for Sutherlands, Taqueria Jalisco, Wallbangers and other businesses down Staples. The signs were placed on orange barrels and had an arrow pointing to the business.
While some stores lucked out with these signs, others did not receive one.
“The city did not make us an entrance or a sign. We had to make our own. Many of our customers did not know we had an entrance behind the animal clinic, so they stopped coming,” said Velasquez.
She was not the only one concerned about a missing sign.
“Jalisco’s got a sign and an open entrance. They [city officials] did not help us at all. I am not happy with them,” said Beurney.
The construction began on Doddridge in 2010, and moved to Staples in 2011, and, according to Velasquez, “looks like it has another 8-10 months to go.” The store owners and managers who are the ones hearing the complaints from the customers are describing it as a “messy inconvenience.”
“They [customers] were upset. There was no way for them to get in. They closed both sides. There was only one small entrance on the side of Gollihar,” said Sandra Calvo, hardware manager at Sutherlands.
The home improvement store is no longer the target of the construction site as crews are headed toward North Staples.
“I am glad now that they are done here. If I could talk to one business owner down the road, I’d tell them it’s going to be okay. It’s just a long, drawn-out process,” said Adams.
Officials said the construction is estimated to be 18 months total and eight months have gone by.
According to Velasquez, there is still a positive side. “After the construction is over, business is going to pick up again and as bad as this has been, the construction is speaking loudly of the city improvements.”
The City of Corpus Christi and Reytec Construction Resources representatives said they are collaborating to try to make this process as easy as possible for the businesses. According to one Reytec Employee speaking on condition of anonymity, “We tried not to affect any businesses. We always created a temporary driveway for their entrances. We didn’t shut anyone down.”

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