Broadway businesses sprucing up back entrances during construction

Friday, May 25, 2012
Construction on Broadway Street is winding down on some sections of the street as it begins on others. (ADAM VOGLER)

Their front doors may be blocked while Broadway construction continues, but many businesses are making arrangements to stay open.

With the 400 block of Broadway now closed, several businesses are sprucing up their rear entrances normally used only by employees. Several have also put out additional signage directing people to side streets and alleys that can be used to access their buildings while Broadway is closed.

TaJuan Parish, owner of Umpkins Unique Beauty Supply at 415 Broadway, says she's making an investment to stay open. Along with painting and repairs to her business' rear entrance, she's setting up a website for Umpkins so customers can view her products online. It's something she's been meaning to do for several years, but the Broadway project made it a priority, she said.

She's also using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Old Town Cape has been working with businesses along Broadway for several months to prepare for the impending street closure.

"For some businesses, like Umpkins, it may push some of their plans forward," executive director Marla Mills said. "Although they were forced to do it because of the construction, it might provide something good for them in the end."

Parish spent Wednesday distributing fliers to beauty schools and salons to let her customers know her business will be open, even though the road is closed. She's offering free delivery while work on the street is underway.

Although it's a temporary inconvenience, she says she thinks the Broadway renovation project will enhance her business.

"I support anything to help bring people down here," she said.

Glenn Reeves, owner of Horizon Screen Printing, 430 Broadway, has put up signs at Middle and Bellevue streets directing customers to a recently repaved parking lot behind his business. A new front door and awning are also being installed to make it clear to customers where to enter, he said.

"Careful plans have been made over a significant period of time," Reeves said.

Horizon has been sending email blasts to its customers with maps and directions, posting photos of the new signage on its Facebook page and will run newspaper ads.

Security Bank and Trust, the United Way of Southeast Missouri, Cape Air's ticket office and Old Town Cape can all be accessed from the renovated rear parking lot.

Terrie Hellman, owner of Sun & Tan, 421 Broadway, said she didn't even consider closing her business during the construction.

"I felt like I had no choice. I have tanning packages I sold in January. I can't just say to those customers 'Sorry, I'm closed now.' They expect me to be here," Hellman said.

She's put up an banner on the back of her building and a sign directing people to walk through the alley to come in through her back door. While customers have to park on a side street, she says they don't have to walk any farther than they do when they park at Walmart or the mall.

"So far it really hasn't bothered them," she said. Customers are more worried about the lack of on-street parking once the project is finished, she said.

The Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau now has signs directing visitors to turn on Frederick Street, then turn on Bellevue Street, and then turn in an alley to access a parking lot next to its building.

In the past week, visitors from Germany, Australia, Switzerland, Oregon and Minnesota have found their way to the visitors bureau by following the signs, said Chuck Martin, executive director.

Workers from Fronabarger Concreters have even helped visitors into the front door, which now has gravel where its sidewalk once was, Martin said.

"You cannot expect a project of this size to not come without a degree of inconvenience," he said. "But we're all going to be pleased with what is ultimately going to be put in."

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

400 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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