Fort Worth Construction a Major Roadblock for Small Businesses

"We thought it was going to be two weeks and the road was closed for two months"

If you've been in west Fort Worth lately, you've probably seen the construction along Montgomery Street. But what you can't see is the impact it's having on small business in the area.

Fort Worth's Jazz Cafe at Pershing Avenue isn't just known for its food, but its colorful owner. Problem is, even with regulars, business has slowed for Nick Kithas. And he's not the only one worried.

"It's been lackluster to say the least. No bizz. The girl has no business across the street, none. And I have 50 percent of what I used to have," Kithas said.

The girl he's referring to is Whitney Howell. She's worried roadblocks may shut down her store for good.

"We thought it was going to be two weeks and the road was closed for two months," Howell said.

Unlike Kithas, who's been cooking up customers for decades, Howell is new to the game. The owner of Shop Small Fort Worth has only been around since early spring. She said she was never told how extensive the Montgomery Street project would be and the effect it could have on her business.

"It's more just seeing when you go down the road, every other street has been open and so we really feel like we've kind of just been left like we don't matter right here," she said.

Howell's shop is made up of small local brands that rely on sales to pay rent, but she said, with her main traffic entrance shut down, no one could find them. And to make matters worse, her mailbox got damaged, delaying customer orders. She lost tenants - and then came the rain.

Vanessa Brown

"We felt left in the dirt. Our mail has been neglected. Our trash has been neglected," she said.

Howell reached out to the city of Fort Worth, but didn't hear back until posting a video of the damage to Instagram last Monday. Crews lifted the barricades Saturday.

"I'm just tickled that she got the ball rolling," Kithas said.

For both owners, it's been a frustrating road.

"If we can make it and if we can survive it, that's more the stress and the struggle," Howell said.

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