Since the construction brought with it closed lanes, orange barrels and obstructions to parking lots along North Mt. Juliet Road, business owners have not been shy about voicing their concerns.
The construction has been an ordeal at times and has cost some people their businesses, said Shelter Insurance Agent Sherry Oliver, who owns the building where her office is located at 2334 N. Mt. Juliet Road.
Tom Courtney, owner of Courtneys Restaurant & Catering at 4066 N. Mt. Juliet Road, said he knew many business owners who had to close their doors during the construction.
Its just a shame that we lost about 13 businesses, he said.
During the construction, businesses that didnt close their doors may have experienced difficult times. Courtney said the gas to his restaurant was shut off twice during the construction as crews hit gas lines and had to shut them off as a result.
Congested traffic and the time it takes to travel down Mt. Juliet Road during the construction also was seen as having hindered customers from going into local businesses. Gregory said he felt they lost some business to other restaurants not located along the construction.
Usually, theyll stop at another restaurant before they get to us, instead of drive 15 to 20 minutes to travel 3 miles, Gregory said.
Judy Franslau, owner of Billy Goat Coffee Caf at 3690 N. Mt. Juliet Road, said she heard from customers that getting into the parking lot was made difficult by the construction and at times turned them away.
We did have customers come in and say they were going to stop in but couldnt get in the parking lot, she said.
However, despite the setbacks some businesses experienced and the unsightly and often snarled traffic, most business owners see the widening project as beneficial in the long run. While some closed their doors due to the construction and slowed business, others opened their doors with an eye toward the future.
Frenslau said she opened the Billy Goat Caf in 2010 and knew the construction would be tough on business for a short period of time, but after its completion, would benefit the caf in the long run.
We knew we wanted this spot, she said, pointing out the lure of being on the new five-lane road drove them to locate where they are today. We are very glad, and the road is looking great.
Courtney also opened his business during the construction and said he hopes the widened roadway will bring more customers to their restaurant. He said despite troubles during the construction, theyve remained upbeat.
Im very grateful that its finally opening, he said. We are upbeat about it.
West Wilson/Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce President Mark Hinesley said the opening of the roadway has been something dozens and dozens of businesses and thousands of commuters have been anxiously awaiting.
Gregory said once the roadway opens completely, he is confident it will bring more people and more customers to that area of Mt. Juliet. While the city has experienced a lot of growth around Providence MarketPlace, he said things would improve on the north side of the city thanks to the completed construction.
Once it opens up, I think itll definitely speed things along on this side of town, Gregory noted.
Oliver noted while some businesses may have been adversely affected by the construction during the past three years, the end product is expected to benefit all businesses along North Mt. Juliet Road.
Hinesley said the local business community was grateful to the citizens of Mt. Juliet and Wilson County for continuing to support the businesses owned and operated by local people.
Thank you to everyone who has continued to support these local businesses during such a difficult time, the Chamber president added.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.