By Allie Burks
The Commerce Journal
Construction on Monroe Street as part of the city’s road project, although necessary, challenges the businesses that currently share their road with bulldozers and piles of rubble. While the east side of the street is being redone, custumers of the businesses on that side have to come from back streets or cross the construction by foot.
Esther Lara has been the owner of Los Mochi’s Mexican Restaurant for 13 years. A combination of summer vacation and the roadwork has slowed business, constraining the store. Lara had to reduce her staff and take hours away from the wait staff and cooks. Even though they cook less food now, the electricity bill is the same and Lara hopes her business will still be there to see the new road.
“I hope that when this road is done, we will still be here,” Lara said. “I’m thankful that the people of Commerce know how to get here and keep coming, but the people who are not from here don’t know how to get around the construction.”
Customers will sometimes call to ask how to get around, but based on the decrease in business, there are many that avoid the situation completely, according to Lara. In order to get to the Monroe businesses, customers must go from the back by turning onto Hunt Street from Washington Street.
Some customers park at the laundromat on the other side of the street and walk over a wooden bridge that was made by the construction workers upon request so customers could walk across the divot in front of the restaurant.
“Some customers came to me suggesting we put a bridge out so my husband went out to talk to the construction workers and they helped us by making a bridge so people could come in from the front,” Lara said.
A sign on the door at Plain & Fancy announcing that they are no longer open on Saturdays due to construction demonstrates that Los Mochi’s is not alone. Monroe businesses will have to continue to adapt in order to enjoy the new road that is due to be completed within a year.
Commerce City Manager Marc Clayton feels for the businesses and has visited them on several occasions.
“We understand the pain they’re going through and are doing our best to keep the contractor on schedule,” Clayton said. “I know it’s not much consolation right now, but the road will be really nice once it is completed.”
Right now the east side is on track to be completed on time, around the first of September. There will still be disruption on the street as the west side is redone but not as many businesses will be affected.