‘We’re really having a hard time’: Downtown Waco businesses struggle with ongoing construction

Waco, TX (KWTX) — Waco’s ongoing infrastructure improvements have seen downtown roads torn apart by construction, and local business owners are feeling the impact.

“It’s definitely impacted the business as a whole,” Nelson Rue, owner of the Schmaltz 5th Avenue sandwich shop, told KWTX. “Right now, 5th Street and Austin is completely blocked, so you can’t drive up to our store at all.”

Ryu says that this, in turn, led to a drop in sales, which was reflected in the number of working hours.

“We didn’t have to lay off a single employee, but we cut a few work hours on non-working days,” Ryu continued. And sales have dropped.

Food truck owner Sergio Garcia has been affected by the closed roads his truck usually parks on, on Austin Avenue.

He says sales have dropped nearly 30% since construction began in the area.

“They close and open, they close and open the streets, and sometimes we don’t know where to go,” said Garcia, Sergio’s food truck owner. “It’s very difficult for us to move around, especially in the city center now.”

The City of Waco Streets Department Manager says the road closures are an unfortunate consequence of Waco’s continued growth and development in recent years.

“All businesses, we absolutely don’t want to impact their day,” Jim Reid, manager of the City of Waco Streets Department, told KWTX. “But there are only natural impacts when you do a closure. So yes, making these places open again to the public, to visitors, I think that’s very important for us.”

Reid also said that these construction projects are expected to be completed within two months and that the improved roads will eventually bring even more business to the area.

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