Corbett Street businesses recovering from Roop project

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

It's been a rough year for the handful of businesses that line Corbett Street since the city started its

$4 million makeover of Roop Street in January.

Now that the busy thoroughfare has reopened after the yearlong project, the businesses on Corbett Street still are standing, but bruised. Some said they came close to shuttering.

Jan Rispin, owner of

Jan's Tropics & Elegant Pooch, 1000 Corbett St., said her 46-year-old business experienced staff cutbacks and slower sales, though she notes the customers are at least happier now.

"They're no longer complaining about how long it took them to get in here, and the Reno customers, they're not lost anymore," Rispin said.

She said she didn't expect the construction to last more than 11 months.

"It almost took us out. If we didn't have loyal customers we wouldn't be here," she said. "The customers have been really great. They have tried to get here and called for different directions. We had a lot of help from a lot of people."

She said Supervisor Shelly Aldean came by to talk to the businesses along Corbett Street, and the construction crews kept the Roop and Corbett streets intersection open during the project.

"They were fantastic with that," Rispin said.

The project closed Roop Street between North Stewart and William streets and included a total replacement of the road, added safety features, underground utilities and bicycle lanes.

"There are obviously a lot of variables when you undertake a road project like this," said Patrick Pittenger, the city transportation manager. "We had hoped to be done sooner."

Bill Coyle, owner of Brake and Alignment Plus, 910 Corbett St., said he's concerned people still don't know Roop Street is open.

"I had people who know where I'm at who couldn't find me during all of this mess," he said. "I just wonder why it took so long."

Coyle said business actually picked up three weeks before the project finished on Dec. 16, but saw a decrease in recent weeks. Overall he's down by about 30 percent.

"I'm thinking it would only be fair if the city put up a nice signage board," he said. "We didn't ask for anything ... I'm just glad it's open."

For Zach Mueller, owner of Distinct Ink, a tattoo shop at 934 Corbett St., which was recently featured in Skin and Ink Magazine, business has improved since the reopening of Roop Street.

"Our business was down two-thirds for 11 months this year," Mueller said. "Since the 16th, I have gotten no negative feedback, we have absolutely seen traffic increase. The magazine obviously helps."

George Nelson, owner of G&D Auto, 1130 E. Corbett St., said he's not able to quantify the effect of the construction project on his business.

"It's really difficult to say, most of my customers knew where I was anyway," he said. "I'm a local business. My customers are local, too."

He adds, "In terms of a difference in business, it just makes it easier to tell them how to get here," now that Roop Street is open.

Still, the length of the project took longer than expected, Nelson said.

"A hell of a lot longer than it should," he said.

He said business is down by about 25 percent from three years ago.

"The economy is probably playing a major role in it," Nelson said. "Roop Street probably didn't help."


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