Vail Valley businesses brace for road work
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – Ken Sady is gearing up for a long nine months in Colorado’s Vail Valley, but likes what he sees as the year comes to a close.
Sady owns Edwards Liquor in the Northstar Center, the retail area on the southwest side of the Edwards Interstate 70 interchange. His business is down this year – “and anybody who says theirs isn’t is lying,” he said. With construction starting on a nine-month road project that will put four roundabouts around the interchange, Sady said he’s ready to take another hit to his business.
But Sady isn’t all that worried.
“We’ve just got to hang tough,” he said. “We’ll be all right.”
Asked if he’s going to do anything special to keep people coming through the doors during construction, Sady shrugged.
“I’m going to open every day at 8 a.m. and close at 11 p.m.,” he said. “That’s what I always do.”
That seems to be the mood at other stores in the Northstar Center.
The Colorado Department of Transportation, which is coordinating the project, has decreed that the road around the interchange will almost always be open.
Project public information officer Jody Randall said traffic will flow both ways weekdays from 7a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Between those times, the project contract calls for traffic to be stopped completely no more than five minutes at a time.
Make no mistake, though, traffic will slow – often to crawl – during construction.
But, Randall said, the project will always provide access to the businesses on either side of the job site.
Still, Fidel Robles is a little worried about the project’s impact on his business. Robles owns El Centenario, a clothing store on the northeast corner of the Northstar Center.
Like Sady’s liquor store, business at El Centenario has slowed down over the last year or more. He said Thursday he’d scheduled a meeting with his landlord to talk about the prospect of renegotiating his rent.
But Robles’ store has been in its current location for 10 years now. His customers know how to find him, so he isn’t planning to do anything special to catch customers’ eyes while the construction roars along near his front door.
“Rush hour’s going to be tough,” he said. “But during the day I don’t think we’ll have much problem.”
And, Robles said, he expects the project – which will put a roundabout instead of a light at the entrance to the shopping center – will be good for business in the long run.
Tracy Heardon of The Pet Spot shares her neighbors’ optimism about the project. And, like her neighbors, doesn’t plan to do anything special during construction.
“I think people will be able to find us,” Heardon said. “Their dogs have to eat. Besides, there’s mud and construction somewhere in the valley every year. Why should this be any different?”
Actually, Sady does have a plan, but it doesn’t involve banners or in-store promotions. He didn’t want to go into details, but said he found a simple way to get construction workers into his store when the new Battle Mountain High School was being built. He plans to do much the same thing this year.
And, he says, he’s got the coldest beer in Edwards.
“The guys know that and they see my signs,” he said. “I’m right here. Where are they going to go?”