Construction becomes a hindrance to some local businesses


Jessica Jutzi

Over the summer, the Maize on First and Green Street closed due to lack of access from delayed construction.

By Gillian Dunlop, Assistant news editor

As construction continues along Green Street, some restaurants are being negatively affected by the blockage.

“It got tough,” said Armando Sandoval, owner of Maize Mexican Grill located at 60 E. Green St. “They were closing all the streets, so we didn’t have access to three different places. The construction blocked our parking lot for Cinco de Mayo; my customers couldn’t get in.”

Sandoval opened a second restaurant location at 110 N. Chestnut St. in Champaign before the construction began, which saved Maize’s profits.

“We thought (opening the new location) was the only way to survive the summer,” he said. “But I had to move my location before I was ready for it.”

Sandoval decided to close Maize’s Green Street location for the summer because of the construction.

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    “We had to close it down because they took away most of my sidewalk around it and I knew they were going to take away my whole corner,” Sandoval said.

    Before construction began, the project’s website issued a statement saying it planned to minimize inconveniences as much as possible, and signs were put up reminding patrons that stores were still open.

    Other stores along Green Street did not face as many problems during construction.

    “It hasn’t been too bad since (construction workers) left our lot pretty much open at least one way on Green Street,” said Isaac Dumoulin, Wild Side Smoke Shop employee. “So people would come in and turn around and see our business.”

    Dumoulin said the profits at Wild Side Smoke Shop, located at 30 E. Green St., actually doubled this summer compared to previous summers, but that had to do with a management change.

    The Illinois budget crisis halted construction during the summer, prolonging the blockage along Green Street.

    “We were irritated (about the budget crisis) because we obviously want the entire lot open so people can get back to us without hassle,” Dumoulin said.

    Campus Pantry, another local store located at 112 E. Green St., also did not lose any profits but did face the inconvenience of construction.

    “It would be a lot better if there were a straight shot to enter the store,” said Michael Amoo Otoo, Campus Pantry employee.

    Although not all businesses were negatively affected due to construction, small businesses like Maize were lucky to make it through unscathed.

    “People were still making their way to the restaurant; we are lucky people like the restaurant a lot,” Sandoval said. “For me, being a small business, it was really hard, so we were really fortunate to have the other location as backup.”

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