Hickory Union Square businesses trying to survive construction zone

Fences line storefronts, owners concerned

HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - Sarah Frisbey says she is trying to look at things in a positive way. Just feet from the front of her shop - Bottega on Union Square in Hickory - is a fence and a construction site.

“We have to make the best of it,” she said.

The City of Hickory is renovating Union Square, and that means most of the square itself has been fenced off and dug up. The $5 million project won’t be finished until at least September. There are pathways around the fencing to get into the business areas themselves.

The shops and restaurants are still open, but with all the fencing up some people passing by were not sure.

“It looked like it might be closed,” said Alan Pruitt.

The issue for the shops is getting the word out that they are open.

“We are doing OK for now,” said Lisa Hamby, who owns a restaurant on the square. She admits, though, the construction will hurt.

Summertime means weekly crowds on the square for concerts and the Farmers Market. All that has been moved to the next block during construction.

“We need people to continue to support us during this," said Michelle Punch.

Many of the shops have special promotions going on to help lure people in. Shop owners say the future after the project is complete could be very good. The key is to survive until then.

Profit margins are small when it comes to family-owned and run shops, “But we are determined,” said Katye Fredieu.

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