Amid torn up pavement, tractors, cones and a road closed sign, a new Front Street restaurant is open for business. The Eat Spot faces a number of road blocks. Front Street construction and a tough economy are the storm its owners have chosen to weather.
The construction is causing headaches for more than just drivers. It's created a bump in the road for businesses as well. It's forced some to get creative to stay open.
"I've got to do whatever I can do right now to stay in business," Flashbax owner Alyssa Bauman said. "If I have to give everything away at 25 percent off, its better than closing down."
While some are clinging to life, a new kid on the block is hoping for the best.
"I am concerned but I am staying positive," the Eat Spot chef and part-owner Jason Godwin said. "The doors are open now, and that's a good thing, and I'm looking forward to this all being finished up."
The Eat Spot, located on the corner of Front and Princess Streets, opened just five days ago, not only during one of the country's most tumultuous economic periods, but also one of the most unsettled in Front Street history. Shortly after Godwin and the other owner bought the space, they found out about the city's plan to tear up Front Street.
"The fact that it was going to be closed was definitely something that we were concerned about, but the finished product is what we were pretty excited about," Godwin said.
Once completed, the project promises larger sidewalks, street lights and more trees. Godwin says that future is bright, despite current obstacles.
"When this is finished, I know I'll be able to look out my front door and our outdoor
patio seating will be up by then, and it's just going to be beautiful along Front Street," Godwin said.
This is the first phase of the project, affecting Front between Market and Princess Streets. A city spokesperson said this phase is on target to be finished by the Azalea Festival in April.