“At one time we couldn’t sell because of the construction,” said Keidy Fenseca at Expendio Bimbo, a convenience store on the walkway. “No persons could pass in front of our store.”
Persons who do brave the trip have to walk across uneven gravel, step over rocks and broken concrete and maneuver around workmen operating large pieces of machinery. This has store workers also worried about safety.
There is a lot of dust in the air from the work,” said José Miranda Vargas at the local optical store. “The whole thing is affecting the health of the people. ”
Many of the businesses have been in the area for more than a decade. For this reason it is important for the owners to persevere despite the obstacle.
Milenio, a 12-year-old store, has only closed three days out of the seven-month period. Employees have employed a
marketing strategy where they engage with pedestrians as they walk by to get them to come inside the store, said the cashier.
Despite the overall consensus of struggle, there are some stores that have witnessed no effect from the change. A string of new stores that opened two weeks ago in the first block of the boulevard has had success from the attraction of the new archway, said an employee at Eskimo ice cream shop.
Also specialty stores such as Macrobiotica Consultorio Homeopático has not had any changes in business. This is linked to the fact that the store is a doctor’s office and has a database of frequent clients, said Leticia Bookles.
However, not every store has been this lucky, and two stores in the same block as the Consultorio closed permanently two months ago, she said.
Nevertheless, things are getting better as the parts are completed, and shop personnel are confident that in the end business will be higher than before.
“Once people have the opportunity to walk and see the stores, they will come,” said Martha Alvares Garcia at Lavanderia La Renaciente, a dry cleaning store.
The project is being strongly backed by San José Mayor Johnny Araya with funding from the People’s Republic of China. Completion is expected in February.