One year later, Cecil Ashburn businesses recall highs and lows of road construction

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - It's been roughly one year since construction started on 3.4 miles of Cecil Ashburn Drive and in the process, several businesses felt their bottom lines drop sharply in 2019.

WHNT News 19 has kept in contact with several small businesses, including Anaheim Chili.

"We definitely had slow business. We did. Not everybody was traveling all the way to Monte Sano or Hobbs Island to get over to this area," said Steven Mink, a cook at Anaheim Chili.

As crews started to widen Cecil Ashburn in January, seats inside the restaurant remained mostly empty.

"We just pushed through it. We kept our hopes high. Everybody started coming back out as soon as they were able to get to us easier," said Mink after 2 lanes opened in October.

"It was challenging for us to come over here. Because we actually come in quite a bit to this restaurant," said Eric Doehrman, a Huntsville resident.

Not all businesses made it through entirely. Moe's BBQ ended up moving to downtown Huntsville while Yogurt Mountain opened a second location a few miles away from the construction to keep profits stable.

Even though business is booming again for Anaheim Chili, they too had the all-important 'can we stay open' conversation.

"Ultimately we put our foot down and said, 'you know what... this is where we are and this is where we are going to stay,'" said Mink.

It's that dedication to the community and customers that kept the doors open and the seats filled with happy patrons.

"I was really proud of them. Because you have to dig in your heals to make it through this transition," said Doehrman. "They do such a good job here of taking care of the customers. Anyone that lives further and is inconvenienced... would still come in."

Construction on Cecil Ashburn is expected to continue through May.