King Street opens after construction closures just in time for the holidays
Dec. 1 marked the last day of construction for 2017 in Uptown Waterloo. King street has finally reopened, a sign of relief for many of the businesses in the affected area.
The section between Willis Way to Bridgeport Road reopened just in time for the city’s holiday market that took place over the weekend.
Although this year has been especially hard for the many businesses located in Uptown Waterloo, it is too soon to tell if business has improved since the reopening of the street.
“Right now it’s too early to say, [but] I hope all of the businesses had a successful weekend with the open,” Michelle Maw, public relations and community liaison for the Uptown Waterloo Business Improvement Area (BIA) said.
Local businesses and the Uptown Waterloo BIA didn’t expect the streetscape work to be as extensive and impactful as it has been.
“A lot of businesses prepared for the road to close for a certain amount of time but then when it’s behind schedule, they maybe weren’t as prepared for that to happen,” Maw said. “I think this year has been a very stressful and challenging year for business in uptown.”
Luckily, a recent news release from the Region of Waterloo shared that construction work on King Street is finished for the year of 2017.
“Even though we have seen a lot of businesses be really impacted over the last year, we hope that people can continue holding on,” Maw said
Unfortunately, past projects have shown that it takes a while for customers to start going back to an area after it has been closed down for so long.
“Drivers and others learn that the area is closed so they change their pattern and start maybe going to different stores, or not coming up the street as frequently as they did in the past,” Maw said.
First customers must learn that King Street has reopened and they can now come back if they had been avoiding the construction.
“This Christmas season and the months going forward before we have construction next year, it’s even more important for people to come down and support those businesses who need to rebuild their clientele,” Maw said.
Construction will resume in 2018 to finish up projects that were left incomplete and other new ones. Although the BIA expects that work in the next year will be minimal and less extensive.
Despite this, the BIA always warns businesses to prepare for the worst case scenario and hope for the best.
“Businesses in the area overall have been doing a good job of preparing themselves,” Maw said. “More work on social media, more for their current clients and [other] strategies seem to work out fairly well.”
The BIA encourages citizens and students to check out the new street and do upcoming Christmas shopping in Uptown Waterloo. 80 per cent of businesses are private and all money spent in uptown goes towards families and people, not corporations.
“Even though we have seen a lot of businesses be really impacted over the last year, we hope that people can continue holding on,” Maw said.
“If people want to get great gifts for their Christmas list come to uptown and do your shopping here.”