When Clearwater Patch , he believed the Cleveland Street streetscaping project that was creeping toward his sub shop was not going to adversely affect his business.
Eleven months later, Saydi, owner of , is unsure if he will be able to survive much longer.
Saydi, who has been at the corner of Cleveland and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue for almost 25 years, was confident the quality of his food combined with the loyalty of his longtime customers would keep him afloat during the period when the project would affect his section of Cleveland.
But on the heels of the city announcing an extension of Phase II of the project from February to April, Saydi and other business owners are thinking about packing up and leaving the area that has been home to their companies for decades.
“Business is bad. It’s been bad since they started the project last February,” Saydi says. “We have our regulars who still come in, but as far as walk-up business, well, there is none.
“We are hurting. We are surviving and paying the bills, but that’s about it.”
Saydi isn’t the only local business owner who is feeling the effects of the streetscaping project.
Jackie Henegar, owner of , was greatly affected by the construction when it was directly in front of her shop a year ago.
Now that the project is finished on her section of Cleveland and has moved south, she is upset at the results, which has choked off access to her window shop.
“I’m disappointed they shut off my street,” Henegar, who has been here for 64 years, says of the lack of a turn-in from the southbound lane of Cleveland. “I told them I have to get in and out, but you can't from that side.
"As far as what they've done, it's pretty. But I'm a little perturbed about the flow of traffic."
Asked how she planned on dealing with the new layout, Henegar was pragmatic.
The city "asked me if I was interested in selling, and I told them to make me an offer. We’ll move, but it will be at a price,” she said.
One local company that got an offer and will relocate is the Thrift Store, located directly across the street from Mr. Submarine.
According to manager Steven Girardi, the shop will be moving to U.S. 19 in the next couple of months.
The streetscaping "has hurt us. It was hurting us before it moved down here because people were having a hard time getting here. Now it’s even worse,” he said.
"But we knew this was coming, so we sold the property to the city last year."
Although signs are posted announcing access to the affected section of Cleveland for the purpose of visiting the businesses, Girardi is quick to point out that no one wants to navigate the perils of a construction area.
“People think they can’t turn into here," he said. "It looks like a war zone.”