North Monroe businesses work together and with community during construction

North Monroe businesses work together and with community during construction

The revitalization of North Monroe has been a topic of debate for some time as the closure of streets for over half a year did not sit well with many business owners in the area. Now the fifth month of construction is here and finally, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

One of the things that has no doubt been providing that light is the vision we saw only in early plans for the project come to life. That vision includes wider sidewalks and new street lights for pedestrian safety and bigger parking spaces for cars.

Some businesses, like Waffles Plus, are among the first to see changes to their appearance thanks to the city’s collaborative facade improvement program.

This has all been a long time coming and in the five months of construction, businesses have gotten creative to make sure they stay afloat and enjoy these new improvements.

Dave Musser owns Bellwether Brewing. For him it’s construction everywhere he looks as they expand operations internally. During that time, they’ve held a number of events to drive business.

“We are doing a year-long campaign called the ‘Year of the Sainted Brewer,” Musser said.

They are also relying on working with neighboring businesses to keep customers happy.

“It is fun having that type of network with the different businesses,” Musser added.

One of those businesses is Prohibition Gastropub. The newer business owners had concerns early on about the project and started saving early.

“We’ve been saving pretty much since we bought the building,” said co-owner Jill Leonetti.

They too have an outreach campaign– with a purpose. It’s called the Bees Knees, where customers have the opportunity give back at the end of their meal.

“The Bees Knees is $5 and 100 percent of those proceeds go to a non-profit here in Spokane. We select a different one each month.” she explained.

To accompany delivery of the donation and supplies, the chef prepares a hot meal. It’s been a win-win for all involved.

“That’s allowed us to connect with a lot of different people and i think people want to connect with us and support us in return,” Leonetti said.

It’s also given the business owners a new outlook on construction.

“It puts it in perspective too for anyone going through something like this with construction that it isn’t a big deal,” Leonetti said. “We are going to get through this, we are prepared, we are ready and these are people who really need things out in the community.”