By Jeff Todd
WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)– Owners of a meat shop say a construction project in front of their business is pushing them to the limit and they may need to close if customers don’t help.
“Our loyal regular customers that we see every day, we’re not even seeing them anymore because it’s such a hassle to take the detour,” said Jessica Bobitsky, the owner of Wheat Ridge Poultry and Meats.
The shop has been in business since 1942 on the corner of 29th Avenue and Depew. But since March, 29th Avenue has been closed to most traffic while Denver Water completes a project around Ashland Reservoir.
“We’re still open, we’re still here. We’ll deliver orders to you, we’ll have your order ready and waiting. We’ve also expanded our products to raw dog food,” Bobitsky said.
Business is down 75 percent according to Bobitsky. She’s cutting back hours of employees and doing anything to attract customers through the detours.
“Our savings is being used to run this right now and there’s going to come a point very soon where we don’t have that savings anymore to keep this place going,” Bobitsky said.
“I’ve been standing out there now the past three days. Usually about an hour or two before work. I’m doing it on my own time. Just because I believe in my job. It’s a good job,” said Carmen Burda, one of the few remaining employees at Wheat Ridge Poultry and Meat.
She’s been standing on the corner of Sheridan and 29th avenue with a sign that says “Help save my job Shop 29th.”
“What else do I have to lose? If it makes one person turn off and come through that construction to us, it’s worth it,” Burda said.
Denver Water says this is the last phase in the Ashland reservoir project.
“Maintaining and upgrading the water system is critical to delivering a safe, reliable water supply for 1.4 million people in the Denver metro area today and in the future. We know this type of work can be disruptive and Denver Water is very sensitive to the impacts caused by these necessary upgrade projects. We are committed to making every effort to ease the burden on the community,” said Travis Thompson with Denver Water.
One half mile of pipe is being replaced under 29th Avenue from Fenton Street to Sheridan. Denver Water says it’s using “trenchless technology.” Instead of ripping up the entire street to replace the water line, pipe is being installed through the current infrastructure.
Construction is expected to be done by the end of April. Denver Water is sending out mailers to neighbors to encourage them to shop while the road is under construction. There are also signs in the area informing people the businesses are still open, and posts on social media from Denver Water are saying the same.
However, business owners say the labyrinth of detours are stopping customers from showing up.
“It’s hurting our pocket book and it’s hurting our staff’s pocketbooks as well,” said Bobitsky.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.