Owners describe ART impact on Albuquerque businesses

ART Albuquerque Rapid Transit
ART Albuquerque Rapid Transit

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It depends what business owner you ask along Central Avenue about “business” now that crews have started tearing up the road for the controversial Albuquerque Rapid Transit bus system.

“We were expecting the worst,” Kevin Kelsey said. “Fortunately for us, our sales have been down but not a whole lot.”

Kelsey said in particular they’re keeping an eye out on the weekend sales at Scalo Northern Italian Grill. He said last Saturday they were down about $1,000 so overall they’re pleased.

Some businesses said they’ve noticed a big drop off in foot traffic. Nob Hill is usually packed during lunch hours and after work; they said that’s not the case anymore.

“The people who do come in regularly to see us are complaining about the times to get down here,” Joseph Millard said. “They’re calling and saying ‘Hey, I’m not going to be able to pick up my comics,’ that we order for them, just because of traffic.”

The owner of Ooh! Aah! Jewelry, Mary Vigil, said she hasn’t noticed a difference in sales, but said it could be too early to tell.

“We utilized social media to reach out to our customers to let them know what was coming,” Vigil said.

She also said they’re coming off from the Balloon Fiesta craze that brings in thousands of tourists to the Nob Hill area. She said as of right now, they’re relying on their loyal customers to get them through.

“A customer today. She made an effort to come down here and support us because she knew what was going on and wants to make sure that we stay in business,” she said.

The city is still offering free parking at meters on and around Central from Broadway through Nob Hill to help attract business.

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