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Cedar Rapids restaurant says construction woes cutting their business in half

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 5:42 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -The owner of Runt’s Munchies said construction projects in downtown Cedar Rapids are making it hard for customers to get to the business.

The 6th Street Southeast project includes roadway, sidewalk, and utility replacement. It’s closed 6th Street from 4th to 6th Avenue

The only way people can get to her business is by taking 5th Avenue by the library side. Johnson says the summer months are her busiest, but this project is driving customers away.

Johnson relies a lot on people walking and driving by and discovering her small business. Her hidden gem has lost half of its business because of road closures.

“Literally you have to want to come here or know about it to get here,” said Johnson. “And willing to park here a half a block away.”

She now puts directions on how to get to her restaurant when she posts her daily specials on Facebook.

“A lot of people, they’ll be driving through the construction then just automatically assume we’re not open,” she said.

Seth Rippe takes this way to work, and is happy the road is being worked on. “I’m glad that the city is taking care of some of the streets,” he said. “Because some of them were beyond ill repair at this point. Glad to see that they’re doing it. I feel bad for the business owners.”

Runt’s Munchies closed for a couple of weeks because of derecho damage last year. A rough 2020 carrying over to 2021. She’s just trying to hold on until the project wraps up in the fall.

“I thought Covid and the derecho was bad enough,” she said. “But let’s just throw this at me and see what happens.”

Paving for Progress Manager Doug Wilson says the construction manager plans to visit the site and talk to businesses. They will also add signage that says “Business Access Open.”

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