Ongoing construction affecting local businesses around Waco
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Construction crews and orange cones have become a common sight in and around downtown Waco over the last year, and even longer in some places.
The construction can make it hard to get around, and that’s affecting some local businesses.
Over the last two years or so, Tortilleria Rio on Dutton Avenue in Waco has faced some major challenges—from the COVID-19 pandemic to the construction that has closed the street they’re on.
Owner Yair Campos grew up in this area, and said it was always a dream of his family’s to open a restaurant here.
It took about five years of planning, but they opened about five years ago. Campos said they rely a lot on walk-ins, and that’s been challenging since the construction began, along with the pandemic.
“We noticed a really, really big drop in our traffic in our walk ins and orders,” Campos said. “It really slowed everything down.”
Campos said the city has put signs out, but what’s really helped has been support from the community, like the Facebook event former city councilmember Hector Sabido organized.
“We did that two weeks ago and just the response was overwhelming,” Sabido said. “You would see people that were coming to the restaurant and tried to want to support it. They fell in love with the food. They’re coming back two or three times.”
Campos said the support from the community has been really helpful, and they’ve noticed a big difference in the number of people coming in.
“It’s really eye-opening to see our community try as hard as they have and support as much as they as they have been to come out here and support a small local business like ours,” Campos said.
The city of Waco said it’s helping businesses where it can as construction continues, and Monica Sedelmeier, director of communications and marketing said they empathize with the frustration construction can cause.
Sedelmeier said they launched a website, which can be found at waco-texas.com/improvedowntown to help with getting around.
The website shows the current construction projects and closures along with projected completion dates.
“We’re updating it as we know of the various projects that are happening, and really hope that this is a way for our residents, our business owners, our visitors to be able to empower and have the information that they need before they travel in the area,” Sedelmeier said.
Campos said they are blessed to have the support of everyone in the community, and something as simple as a like or share on Facebook can help. Tortilleria Rio is located at 1220 Dutton Avenue.
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