Halted San Marco construction helps shops

Businesses look for upswing during holiday season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The traffic problem in San Marco is over for now.

The city's beautification project recently wrapped up, just in time for the holiday season.

Some business owners say they're already seeing a change.

"We've had probably a 10 percent increase in our sales since the road opened," said Effie Kennedy, a manager at Peterbrooke Chocolatier in San Marco.

November and December are Peterbrooke's busiest months. The shop already has Christmas decorations up this year, but last year at this time, the mood was anything but merry.

"A lot of people thought we were closed. A lot of businesses were putting "yes we are open" signs," Kennedy said.

Construction closed down a major portion of San Marco Boulevard, a road that leads to a bevy of mom-and-pop retailers.

Now all the lanes are open and retailers say they are looking forward to a boost in businesses.

For them, there's more good news on the horizon.

Nationwide, holiday retail sales are expected to rise 2.8 percent, according to the National Retail Federation. More consumers are also expected to shop locally at stores where they can get unique items.

"If you're looking for something special, something different, something name brand, come to the Snob," said Rula Carr, who owns the Snob in San Marco.

At the Snob, a designer consignment shop, Carr says sales picked up as soon as construction winded down.

Rather than navigate the traffic, a lot of people chose to avoid the area all together. Now her store is reaping the benefit of being in a neighborhood like San Marco.

"People really do come down here for a lot of the restaurants, especially since The Loop is two doors away. It really serves us well," Carr said.

Construction is clear, but just for a spell. It will resume in 2012 after the holidays.

Copyright 2011 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.