South Parkway project ahead of schedule, but still causing pain for local businesses

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Since December, construction work along South Memorial Parkway has caused major traffic backups and headaches for business owners that are trying to keep the lights on.

That's especially true for Angel's Island Coffee Shop.

Tis the season for Pumpkin Spice everything, yet the crowd at Angel's Island isn't exactly lined out the door.

“It’ll be really good when it’s done," says Angela Allison, a barista at the store.

You need only to look out their front door to see why. As South Parkway construction continues, so does the economic crunch on many local businesses on both sides of Memorial.  “It’s gone down about 30% since construction has begun," says Allison.

The Angel's regulars still fight brake lights to get their caffeine jolt, but say they are seeing fewer new faces who stumble upon their shop for the first time.  “It really turns off a lot of new customers. It’s very hard for them to come through here," she says.

The major backups are causing many drivers to skip the Parkway all together - which isn't good for the cash register either.  “Now they just go through Whitesburg and instead of spending money locally they’ll go to Starbucks or something," says Allison.

While the sounds of construction pound on, Angel's is trying to be creative as they market to new customers.  “We try and advertise different ways and we try to hold music nights hopefully so people could come and get introduced to us when they want to hear and see entertainment," she says.

The one silver lining is the project is actually three months ahead of schedule for all phases. A spokesman for ALDOT tells us they're one-third of the way done with the entire project. That's well ahead of the June 2019 deadline for completion.