Louise Avenue businesses seeing highs and lows amid construction

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Construction along a busy stretch of Louise Avenue in Sioux Falls has been underway for about a month now and the "cone zone" between 41st and 49th Streets isn't just causing a headache for drivers. Many businesses are feeling the effects too.

Before the construction began, KSFY News reporter Erika Leigh checked in with several small businesses in the area to see if they were worried about the work affecting their bottom lines. Today, she checked back in to see how things were going and got a mix of answers from three small business owners.

"With the weather and the construction it's hard to say, but we are down in business a little bit," said Ron Winer, manager of the Fast Auto Wash on 43rd and Louise. "It needs to be done though."

Next door, Erbert & Gerbert's Sandwich Shop said they've been using social media to stay busy.

"We've been doing pretty well, we've really tried to increase our delivery and catering awareness by doing some social campaigns on facebook and instagram," said owner Janelle Leuning. "And it's been pretty good."

Leuning said the surprise was her regular customers not realizing they would deliver or that the shop catered.

Across the street, Rudolph's Shoe Mart is having a little more trouble than their neighbors.

"On the nicer days when they don't close our entrance it has picked up a little bit but it's still spotty," said Jescika Johannsen, the store manager.

Johannsen said they've had a major problem with the construction workers closing off their Louise Avenue entrance just all of a sudden in the middle of the business day.

"It happens without warning!" she said. "It'll be open for a couple hours but last Saturday they closed it around 2 [p.m.] and I was wondering where everybody went," Johannsen explained. "I was like 'oh, our one entrance is closed!' It''s just kind of without warning, I'm not sure what they're doing."

"It is difficult for people who don't know how to get in the back way --
they'll come in right away and they'll be like, 'well, we made it!'" Johannsen said with a laugh.

All three businesses are relying on customers finding those alternate entrances.

"If you are coming to Erbert & Gerbert's and you can't get in on Louise -- it's kind of tricky -- you can go ahead and go through the Fast Car Wash," Leuning said.

"A lot of their customers [Erbert & Gerbert's] come through here and we try to keep one of our vacuum lanes open so that they can get in and out," said Winer. "Gotta help your neighbors. We all have to survive."

For Rudolph's customers, it's a little more complicated.

"On 41st street down by Sioux Falls ford --I think that's the main mall entrance," Johannsen said. "But trying to explain to someone, 'you have to go back on 41st street, or drive all the way down Louise Avenue and try to get in one of the open ways,' it's hard to explain because we don't even know what's open and what's closed down the road."

One thing they can all agree on? They can't wait until it's over.

"The quicker the better," Winer said with a laugh.

The City of Sioux Falls said the project is going well so far because the weather has been favorable for getting the road reconstruction completed.