‘It’s been a long haul’: Business owners excited about Sprague Ave reopening

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Sprague Ave revitalization project has been years in the making and even Monday morning, city crews were making last-minute improvements. 

The construction project was set to be fully complete Monday morning, but crews have now delayed the full reopening to Wednesday.

The project has brought new streetlights and sidewalks to the main thoroughfare, but it has not been an easy go for businesses. 

East Sprague from Division through Grant Streets has been closed for the past seven months. It is the last of a series of projects that has blocked Sprague for four years. 

Previously, fresh flowers would invite customers to Peters and Sons. But owner Susie Matteson says they have not had a reason to display their bouquets since construction began. 

“All they had to do is come in and pick them up and take off. And because we don’t have the walk-in traffic, we quit doing that,” she said. 

The construction became a massive roadblock to even getting in the front door. 

“It was a struggle for people to find us and we would get phone calls because they would be driving around trying to get to us and couldn’t,” Matteson said. “So that made it hard. Some people persevered and came and some people got frustrated and left, so it makes a bad image for your business sometimes.” 

It wasn’t easy for Honest in Ivory either. And the bridal shop requires customers to have appointments. 

“We were able to prep our brides with different detours of how to get to our shop, but it’s definitely great having it done,” said manager McKenzie Quaintance. “A lot less phone calls and confused brides, so we’re super excited about that.” 

Despite the inconvenience, Matteson said the construction needed to happen. 

“It’s been a long haul. It needed to be done,” she said. “Our water main was from 1890, so parts of the old US Highway 10.” 

Now, the street has even more potential than it did before. 

“It’s a small light industrial area right now, but with the University District and the need for retail spaces, it can change a lot in the next three years and that’s exciting,” Matteson said. 

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