SPOKANE, Wash. --- She sells insurance during the week, but Julia Lara also has another job. She runs French Toast, an educational toy store, and Paper Nerd, which specializes in stationaries, in Downtown Spokane.
In recent months, running the shop has been difficult. She said since construction started on Lincoln Street and the surrounding area her business has struggled.
"It has completely driven down our business," said Lara. "We saw an immediate drop-off. Really, our traffic went down to just a handful of people a day."
And Lara said those handful of people were frustrated with the lack of parking and walking through the construction area.
Lara said it seems people avoid the construction, by avoiding the area. They get less foot and vehicle traffic.
Some city and downtown organizations have partnered to entice people to shop, dine and visit during construction time. One of the latest effort is 'Passport to Prizes'. People can earn marks at each participating business they go into. And once they have five they can turn it in for a chance to win prizes.
Josh Blair, 24 Taps Burgers and Brews’ owner, said they are willing to promote any effort that drives downtown business, even though they have not been impacted by the construction.
"It is encouraging people to come down and support us,” said Blair. "Business has been very steady for us, we have not been affected overall. We are doing really well."
But he said he is ready for the work to finally be finished.
"It is going to be absolutely beautiful when it is done,” said Blair. “And getting the streets back open and the sidewalks open is a huge thing for everybody."
And as for Lara’s quaint shop it, may be a little too late for any big pushes for visitors.
"Really, we're kind of heading into the holiday season where we are busy anyways,” said Lara. “So some of these efforts, while we really really appreciate them, they are kind of falling a little flat."
The ‘Passport to Prizes’ event goes until the end of November.