Linden Hills business owners say they are open amid road closure

Jim Cone has been keeping Linden Hills in Minneapolis awake for more than 40 years. But now it's not just the caffeine from his Coffee and Tea Limited store that has the neighborhood buzzing.

"You can't get here. It's difficult. The faster they can do it, the better. But ten weeks is going to be a long time," said Cone.

The intersection of 43rd Street and Upton Avenue South will be closed to car traffic for the next 2.5 months, so Minneapolis Public Works can replace the sewer line and water main that were put in more than a century ago.

Metro Transit will also start building two bus rapid transit stations and make improvements for pedestrians at the intersection as well.

"I feel good about the possible outcomes. It's kind of what's going to go on between now and then that's going to be difficult for us as a business," said Jen Bellefleur, owner of New Gild Jewelers.

Some businesses in the village say they rely on foot traffic for as much as 50% of their revenues. They are banding together to come up with a campaign to offer incentives to customers who visit them during the construction.

"I'm hopeful that our clients who saw us through the pandemic will also come and see us through this. I have faith. We're working hard, but it's been quiet," said Bellefleur.

Cone will start raffling off a $25 gift certificate once a week to keep customers coming through the door, so the road closure doesn't cause his coffee roasting business to grind to a halt.

"It has to be done. We just have to do what we can to mitigate the effect on our bottom line, our bank account," said Cone.