Many small business owners have been hit hard by COVID-19, some even closed their doors for good.
Kathie Sue Roberts said she's spent the better part of her 28 years as a photographer on Dawes Avenue in Downtown Bixby at her studio Kathie Sue Portrait Design.
She said the coronavirus has been hard enough on her business at the studio, but she says a downtown Bixby construction project going on for the past several months presented her with even more problems.
The city of Bixby said work on it's downtown revitalization project began in June of 2019.
Roberts was there when crews from Paragon Contractors began breaking ground on Armstrong Street in the Fall of 2019. The makeover includes new sidewalks, street lights, restructured roads, and an archway hovering over the heart of downtown.
Roberts said, “It has been torn all up and slowly put back together.”
She said her studio was forced to close temporarily in March due to COVID. When she drove down Dawes Avenue two months later to reopen, she couldn't reach her storefront.
“It has hurt. You don’t realize how many people, when they don’t see you at your business and they don’t see your vehicle parked outside begin to forget about you," Roberts said.
She said not only does construction leave limited spaces for vehicles, it's also restricting the parking spaces for customers.
Roberts said the city and construction manager haven't given the timely notices they promised, she said business owners are kept in the dark on updated completion dates.
"This is the only job I’ve ever had. This is who I am. I’m a photographer and the thought of not having this studio and not being a part of this community has led to many sleepless nights," Roberts said.
A spokesperson with the city of Bixby told 2 Works for You the city designated parking spots available for patrons to help the businesses continue their normal day-to-day.
Business owners can contact the construction manager directly for any complaints. The city of Bixby expects to finish the construction in the next couple of months.
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