Business owners celebrate as construction nears completion
Leighanne Evans, CTV Kitchener
Published Saturday, July 7, 2018 6:52PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 7, 2018 7:05PM EDT
Business owners are impressed with Uptown Waterloo’s new look.
However, that doesn’t take away from the last three years of construction.
“It got a bit messy over the last few years,” says Mandy Brouse, co-owner of Words Worth Books, “we had a few water main breaks.”
It wasn’t only water main breaks.
LRT work is where it all began. Once that work was done, there was a 10-million dollar streetscape improvement project.
“We’ve been very honest with our customers,” Brouse says. “We’ve had a number of different events to let people know how they can support us during this time.”
Many businesses had the same approach, leaning on their loyal customers.
“It gave us an opportunity to re-focus and concentrate on our business,” says Alnoor Keshvani, owner of Loop Clothing. “It allowed us to tap into our customer base and let them know that this is the time to support us.”
For other companies, there were times it felt like business was in jeopardy.
“I had to use my savings,” says Joanna Gasior, owner of Café 22. “I felt bad to cut hours from my girls. I worked extra hard to keep it going.”
With the busy construction, business owners could understand why customers would avoid the area.
“It’s hard for customers to want to continue to come into Uptown,” says Brouse, “so we’re very happy that it’s coming to an end. We’re really looking forward to that time.”
That time could be right around the corner, as the streetscape project is expected to wrap up next week.
There are new trees, bike lanes, and benches. The plan is to even go as far as decorating the trees with color changing L-E-D lights.
If anything, business owners are impressed by the makeover.
“A little bit of pain, for a long term gain, is okay with me,” says Keshvani.
“It’s all about perception,” he adds. “Construction in front of your store sucks, but if we put positive energy out, then we’ll get positive energy back.”
With reporting from CTV's Heather Senoran.