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Customers Slow To Return To 57th & Cliff

August 29, 2012, 4:55 PM by Perry Groten

Customers Slow To Return To 57th & Cliff

It's been three weeks since construction wrapped up on a large street project in southeast Sioux Falls, but some businesses are still asking where have all the customers gone?   Construction limited traffic to single lanes in each direction during most of the summer along Cliff Avenue, south of 57th Street.  All lanes reopened on August 7, providing drivers with a smoother and wider surface.  But some businesses impacted by construction are still waiting for the bulk of their customers to return.
The orange cones that dotted Cliff Avenue traffic lanes south of 57th Street are long gone.  But it's been a long haul for businesses like the Liquor Mart to get back in the black.

"Construction can hurt your business, a lot," Liquor Mart owner Eileen Goodwin said.

Goodwin says her business dropped by half during summer road construction.  And it's only rebounded about 10 percent since the project finished three weeks ago.

"I didn't quite think it'd be this slow because I thought a lot of people would know that the road was open, but I still get people coming in saying, 'I haven't come this way because I thought the construction was still going on.'  So you're like, 'Nope.  Nope, it's open,'" Goodwin said.

Goodwin thinks many of her customers are skittish of the construction that's still taking place on Cliff Avenue north of 57th. 

"So you just avoid it and you go in another direction," Goodwin said.

Just a few doors down, Stubbies Bar & Grill also worried that construction out front would turn away customers.

"We figured this summer that people wouldn't be able to get in here and the driveways were going to be blocked, but they held their word and they did a good job," Stubbies owner Chico Sharpe said.

Instead, the lunch crowd at Stubbies has grown, in spite of construction.

"We'll see a drop-off from the summer, but from the construction, I don't think so because our lunches have been up from summer from last summer," Sharpe said.

While Stubbies hasn't been hurt by construction, Sharpe and other business owners are glad the project is done so customers all along South Cliff have easier access to food and to drink.

Goodwin says her liquor business isn't even getting a boost from the hot weather.  She says it's even too warm for people to sit out in their back deck and enjoy a cool, refreshing drink.

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