MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Penn Avenue in south Minneapolis is being rebuilt and widened, and the work is taking from May through October.

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But many business owners from 54th Street to Highway 62 say the construction is killing their bottom line.

“We could not leave the store open, because customers could not get here,” said Nola Wagner, whose family owns Wagner’s Garden Center.

The garden store is currently empty. Customers need to drive to a place like this, so they can load heavy plants and garden gear into their vehicles. Lost sales have turned into lost employment.

“Well, I had to release 20 to 25 employees, because we could not use them if the store was not open,” Wagner said.

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Would-be customers are also unhappy they can’t shop where they like.

“Once you learn that [construction is] happening, you learn to avoid it. However, because I’ve avoided it, then I’ve avoided…some of the businesses here that I frequent,” said an area resident.

Business is so slow at the CP Nail Salon, at 54th Street and Penn, that’s there’s a for-rent sign in the front window. If things don’t improve, the business will have to move.

“Most of our customers do live around here, so I hope that they, you know, would get on their bike and get over here, or walk,” said Cindy Nguyen, who works at the salon.

One salon in the area has already closed, so has the In-Season restaurant, which is slated to re-open after the construction ends.

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Those WCCO-TV spoke with all said they know the road work has to be done. They just can’t wait for the road to re-open, and they are hoping for booming business next summer.

Frank Vascellaro