Businesses fight to stay open amidst road construction on Fashion Avenue
DETROIT (FOX 2) - On Livernois, between 7 and 8 Mile, there exists a strip of road that plays host to an amalgamation of businesses.
It's called the Avenue of Fashion.
"I've shopped on the Avenue of Fashion since I was a little girl," said Pamela Taylor.
Much like the city it's in, the string of businesses that line the historic strip of pavement have seen good times and bad times. And right now, it's a bad time.
"I watched when the island was put in the middle and it brought a little havoc to our neighborhood," said Ronda Morrison, who runs the House of Morrison Shoe Repair. "Shortly after it was installed was when businesses started closing down because patrons were not going two to three blocks to come back."
That slab of concrete, the one that divides the roadway, the one that Morrison referred to as "the island," is the bane of many of these businesses. So, the city is taking it out.
"We're removing the median that everyone has been hating for years," said Kim Tandy, District 2 Manager for the city. "And this will help to make it more walkable, more bikeable as well as drivable."
But, before things will get better, they must get worst. Orange traffic barrels dot the pavement. The eye sore has hindered business for many owners.
"When you get on the avenue, it's kind of difficult to exit it. You have to go further than you used to before," said Emanuel Martin, who frequents the district.
These complaints aren't just the anecdotes of angry shoppers and business owners. They're backed by statistics showing the construction is impacting profits.
"Myself and other restaurants in the area, we're seeing about a 25 to 40 percent decrease in business," said Omar Mitchell of the Table No. 2 Restaurant.
Mitchell said when they opened, business was good. But since that debut, money hasn't been coming in as much. In response to the dip in revenue, many business owners, including Mitchell, are banding together, bent on not letting road construction be the death of their efforts.
"We desperately need their help during these trying times," Mitchell said. "so just be patient. Drive through the construction here and support the businesses."
While Table No. 2 Restaurant is offering discounts and dinner specials, the House of Morrison Shoe Repair shop is offering to come to you, picking up supplies if you can't come to them.
"We'll make it as easy as possible and we can all make it through and have a wonderful, beautiful, community district when it's all said and done," said Morrison.