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'We're still struggling': Peoria Ave. construction makes progress, local businesses trying to stay afloat

brookside diner construction peoria
Brookside Diner
Posted at 5:41 PM, Jun 21, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — It's been over a year since the road work on Peoria Ave. began. It's taken until June for crews to start working on the other side of the street.

Staff at the Brookside Diner had long been waiting for this day. The cones and signs had been blocking their driveway, making it difficult for customers to get to them.

But it hasn't been as productive as they thought.

"It’s picked up a little bit. I’d say it’s still down 40%, maybe down 35%, but we’re still struggling," said Rhema Cannon, the diner's night manager. "It's still a mess out there."

2 News spoke with Cannon back in March. She told us then about a 40% loss in sales since the construction began.

The cones and road signs no longer block the diner's driveway, but so many drivers now avoid Peoria Ave. altogether. Switching to the other side of the street hasn't made it any easier on Brookside Diner.

"We still have regulars that came maybe three or four times now are coming once a week," said Cannon. "And they are saying the same thing they were saying before still it's the construction keeping them from coming over here because they don't want to get stuck in it."

Some faces haven't been around at all since the construction project started in April 2023. Most days around the diner, Cannon said, are still pretty slow.

"Normally on a Friday before the construction, it would be every table full, I mean as soon one leaves, we have one coming back in to take it’s place," she said. "And that’s not what’s happening now."

With the rush and dinner rush slowing down, Cannon's take home has also taken a hit.

"Where I would make $600 a week, I'm down to about $450-$500, something like that," said Cannon. "You get used to making a certain amount of money every week and then when you don't make it you're like, 'Oh, so I need to cut back on this or cut back on that so I can still pay my bills.' Because, unfortunately, the bills don't change just because business changes."

One thing Brookside Diner is doing to make up for the drastic loss in revenue is daily specials.

With breakfast and lunch specials for under $10, they hope their deals will entice people to fight the traffic headache and still support them.

Cannon said it's their beloved regulars that have kept them afloat.

"We need our people back in," said Cannon. "We love you guys, and thank you all for supporting us; we can't wait to see you all again; please don't let the construction keep you from coming in."

The city plans for the construction to be complete by the end of 2024 if not early 2025.

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