Baraboo businesses celebrate end of construction

Project nears ends date after four months

Along with months of construction comes a big dip in business for Baraboo – but this week, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

South Boulevard in Baraboo has been under construction for four months. The project was planned to wrap up by the end of October but has since gone well into November. The new end date falls at the end of the week, which has business owners excited.

“It’s been real frustrating,” says Henry Martinez, owner of Cousins Subs on the street. “It seems like they could’ve been done quicker. They don’t seem to care about the business owners [and] what we’re going through.”

Martinez says he’s seen about 150 fewer customers each week, totaling about 20 percent of his business.

“It’s been a struggle,” he sais. “People coming up on the weekends from out of town, they just don’t know where to go.”

Other businesses are fearful for their bottom line after weeks of decreased traffic. Baraboo Custom Lube and Wash is one of them.

“For our car wash, it’s devastating,” says general manager Dave Kotula. “I know the owners are quite concerned about it… to the point where if it doesn’t finish within the next few weeks, they almost thought they’d have to do drastic measures, maybe even shutting it down.”

The auto shop typically sees about 12 cars a day – that’s down from 20 before construction started, representing 15 percent of their business. Kotula says increased marketing during the last year didn’t improve those numbers.

“We tried doing advertisements, but that didn’t really pan out,” he says. “We run monthly specials, but that doesn’t seem to help out a whole lot.”

Other owners on South Boulevard reported losses as high as 30 percent.

With construction expected to close by Nov. 15, however, both owners recognize the importance of the work.

“No doubt about it, it had to be done,” says Martinez. “Before they started, it was a rough ride.”

“I do believe it was something that needed to be done, because the roads were terrible,” Kotula says.  “I do believe that it will bring us more business, because people actually want to drive down this road now.”