The Draft Horse in northeast Minneapolis has issued an unusual plea to its customers: Help us survive.
A condo construction project (and subsequent parking restrictions) near the restaurant connected to the Food Building on 14th Avenue NE has sent customer numbers and sales plummeting.
This prompted the following appeal by Draft Horse ownership on its Facebook page last Wednesday.
Speaking to GoMN over the weekend, owner Anne Saxton said that traffic and sales have dropped "significantly" over the past couple of months, "and the only change has been the construction across the street."
"Due to the construction work, we frequently have restricted parking on both 14th and Marshall, and the overall project reduces visibility to the business," she said.
"While it’s hard to understand the psychology around why people do or do not come near construction, it has been overwhelmingly clear that it’s highly unappealing as seen in our numbers," she said.
The post on Facebook, she says, wasn't about "pointing fingers" at the developers, rather to reach out to "loyal customers and hoping to have them rally with us to get through this."
It's common for construction projects – particularly that involve road closures or parking restrictions – to have negative impacts on small businesses.
And while not in imminent danger of closure, Saxton expressed concern that things could get dicier for her bar, which opened in December 2015, the longer construction continues.
Until the construction started, Saxton says the bar was an upward trend, but now requires some help to navigate a difficult period – with construction on the condos not due to end until September.
"Hopefully, we’re not going anywhere. But we do need the support to make it through," Saxton said. "We just wanted to remind people that we’re their neighbors. That we’d love to see them in the restaurant to hang out for a pint. And that they should probably have their parties in the Food Building too."