Several businesses on Madison’s West Side along Old Middleton Road are coping with reduced business amid a road construction project that started April 18 and won’t wrap up until the fall.
Ekaterina Pronina said business at her 13-year-old store International Food and Souvenirs, at 5317 Old Middleton Road, is off 30% to 40%.
“It’s affecting customers a lot because it’s become kind of difficult to get here and to get out of here,” said Pronina, who owns the store with her husband, Alexey Pronin. Both are originally from Russia.
“So, people have to do routes that they do not usually do. It’s not easy, not right now,” she said.
Pronina said some of her customers are unfazed by the construction, while others ask her every time how to get out of the construction zone. The traffic pattern and what side streets are open can change weekly, she said.
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Some of her regular customers have been stocking up during less frequent visits, Pronina said.
The construction is also affecting deliveries. A semitrailer that usually comes weekly, now comes once every two or three weeks.
She said Knoche’s, 5372 Old Middleton Road, is one of the biggest ground beef wholesalers in the state, with its meat used by the Oakcrest Tavern across the street, Vintage Brewing, Badger Tavern, the Laurel Tavern, the Riley Tavern, Jordan’s Big 10 Pub and Sconnie Bar. Smoky’s Club, before it closed, used to be one of its biggest accounts.
The shop is so busy providing meat to bars and restaurants, it’s had to turn new wholesale business down, she said.
“We run two trucks, and I guess the other challenge we have is, like everybody else, not having enough help,” Stephanie Knoche said.
Retail customers though, are having a hard time getting to the shop, she said. “We’ve noticed the last couple days it’s been a little slow, but that might not just have to do with the road. It’s summer, you know.”
End in sight
Christy Bachmann, city principal engineer, said the estimated completion date for work on the western portion of Old Middleton Road between Capital Avenue and Rosa Road is Sept. 1. Work on the eastern portion of the road between Rosa Road and North Eau Claire Avenue is set to run until Oct. 28.
The project is addressing poor pavement condition and needed utility upgrades including sanitary sewer and storm sewer, Bachmann said.
“Hopefully they’re done by Christmas,” said Chip Cantwell, co-owner of the Oakcrest Tavern, 5371 Old Middleton Road, laughing.
Cantwell, who owns the bar, popular for its burgers and fish fry, with Matt Grinvalsky, calls Old Middleton Road a maze to drive down, but said his business is only down about 5%. “It’s not bad at all.”
He said his business hasn’t suffered too much because the busiest times on the road are when people go to work in the morning and the evening rush hour around 5 p.m.
Cantwell warns that the now one-way drive down the street can be more of a problem for clean cars.
“It’s something where you probably don’t want to wash your car before you come down our street, because it’s going to get real dirty,” he said.
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