Some business owners said they’ve had to cut down half of their staff because of a major drop in sales.
HOUSTON — Houston’s busy North Shepherd Drive is getting a makeover, however, the construction is hurting many of the businesses that call this area home.
“Our sales have dropped about 50% considerably,” said Phi Nguyen, the owner of Waffle Bus located on Shepherd Drive.
That drop in sales has made Nguyen let go of a large chunk of his employees to stay afloat.
“Last year at this time we had 35 now we have 18,” he said.
Other businesses like Chi’lantro BBQ are facing the same challenges tied to construction traffic.
“They avoid Shepherd,” said Cliff Eaton. “They are avoiding all of our restaurants and our businesses here.”
The Shepherd Durham Project began in 2021. It’s being completed in phases along Shepherd and Durham, from 15th Street to the 610 loop.
In a statement, the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority said:
The project will bring much-needed roadway improvements along Shepherd Drive, Durham Drive, and certain cross streets from 15th to I-610. This area hasn’t seen significant infrastructure updates since the 1950s. Construction on Shepherd Drive and Durham Drive is essential to the community because it will remedy or lessen residents’ many challenges, including a high crash rate in the area, lack of multimodal and regional access, flooding, and congestion. Additionally, the Shepherd and Durham project adds continuous pedestrian and bicycle facilities along both streets, new street lighting with pedestrian lighting, and provides for trees along the entire corridor.
But businesses along the road worry that if construction isn’t moving fast enough, it will be tough for all of them to survive.
“We understand construction and infrastructure is important, but the life of the businesses are important as well,” said Eaton.
Business owners in the area don’t want you to forget about them.
“People come to support the business in the Heights. It’s hurting everybody,” said Nguyen.
The project still has a ways to go. It’s expected to be completed by the fall of 2025.