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9:42 PM Sun, Feb. 17th
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Rain, snow, road construction are nasty foes for businesses

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Gary Thompson used to draw five cars a day at his muffler and brake shop.

Business at Thompson's shop, 8261 E. Spouse Drive, went quiet once construction began on the second phase of the Robert Road improvement project.

These days Thompson is lucky if he gets one or two cars once in a while.

"We've had none today (Friday)," he said. "It's unreal what's been going on these past two months."

What is real is Thompson is one of many business owners in the area reporting double-digit business declines.

Thompson said business is down 70 percent and work crews blocked access to his shop five days this past summer.

"People don't want to drive down these dirt roads unless they have to," he said.

Aide Perez spent part of her Friday afternoon cleaning a portion of the dining room floor around empty tables at Las Palmas restaurant, 8198 E. Spouse Drive.

With business down more than 60 percent, Perez said her family has cut the number of daily employees from six to three.

"Some customers say they don't want to come in for all the construction," she said.

Deliveries and repeat customers are helping to keep the doors open for the Perez family.

Project manager Ron Pine said the second phase of the road improvement project is about 50 percent complete.

Pine said work on the current phase will finish in early February and the third phase should begin sometime later in the year, though he could not say when.

"We're doing everything we can to keep access open to the businesses during construction," he said.

Pine said he knows of fewer than 10 complaints and the town is working with business owners to help with roadside signs.

The town is hosting a public meeting from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Civic Center.

Capital Projects coordinator Kim Moon said she is working with the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce on radio spots to promote the businesses in the heart of the project area and give residents periodic updates.

Steve Woodham, owner of Haircut King Barber Shop, 8535 E. Spouse Drive, said about 50 percent of his walk-in business is gone with the ongoing construction.

"Last year at this time, I was doing double the amount of haircuts I'm doing this year," he said.

Loyal customers go a long way to helping Woodham keep his doors open.

Woodham is glad the town is trying to help.

"At least the town, the chamber and the newspaper support the local businesses," he said. "We need it."

For more information, call 759-3070.

Contact the reporter at jsoifer@prescottaz.com

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