Four months have passed since the Santa Cruz City Council completed the resurfacing and improvement of accessibility works in the upper part of the avenue of Venezuela, which also involved improvements to street lighting and sidewalks. Some jobs that had a budget of more than 734,000 euros, destined to contribute quality of life to the neighbors and that would allow to revitalize the economy of the area. However, after the works, which lasted just over eight months, many of the merchants do not have the feeling that this economic revitalization is like that. They assure that they have not recovered the activity they had and that the capital City Council’s campaigns to encourage purchases and boost the area have not borne fruit.
Salva, the owner of the Churrería La Salud Bakery, tells DIARIO DE AVISOS that the situation is complicated. There is more movement because people can move on the street, obviously, but we have a very bad time. During the works we did not produce even a third of what we usually do. For me it was worse than COVID, because during the pandemic people had to go out yes or yes to buy, but if you don’t have a way to get there, you stay at home or shop elsewhere ”.
Despite seeing little movement, this businessman is positive and is convinced that, with a view to Christmas, the situation will change. “It has to improve. I have seven employees and one can hold out because they have been around for a lifetime, but it is very hard to make ends meet and not have to pay salaries, ”he explains.
Dábel, from Bar Nena, points out that he had a really bad time during the works and that now is when he begins to see some light and movement. “We suffered the pandemic and the consequences of the works. The summer months were horrible. People lost the habit of coming to buy around here, because they were afraid of falling, but it seems that now things are starting to move. Of course, the reality is that the jobs did me a lot of damage, and today I don’t know how my business is still alive ”, he details.
The owner of this small bar says that in the area “they have closed about five or six businesses”, not being able to meet the expenses. “The street was broken and we continued paying taxes, without entering any money. That is not easy to bear ”, he adds.
For her part, Teresa works in a butcher shop on this avenue. It is one of the people who say they have not noticed any improvement. “We are still the same, because the people who got down here by bus and stopped at the gofio grind, got used to going somewhere else, and have not returned. Only people from the area come here. This is not what it was, ”he said.
Pedro is an employee in another bar and points out that the avenue “is a very busy area” and that it would have been good to allocate a space for parking. “If they had taken that into account, things would surely be different now,” he says.
We found Ana at another sale. He says that “since the pandemic and the works, everything has fallen. The works were joined with those of the Las Indias park and it was chaos. It would have been better to carry them out in sections, because people forgot about this area ”. The case of José, the manager of a kebab business, is different. His company is dedicated to the delivery of food at home and for that reason he has managed to maintain sales. But he points out that “thanks to the licenses that have been given to the bars in the area to put up terraces, you can see a little more life.”
Felipe works in another place, pointing out that “something has improved the situation, but not to launch rockets.” He believes that the decline in sales is “due to large stores, the economy, construction sites and the pandemic.”
In short, that “people hold back more when it comes to spending.” He says that the City Council tried to carry out a campaign to encourage purchases, but that for the time of year we are in, nothing has been noticed. “You can see that this does not start,” he says.
Finally, Evelio, who runs a small tobacconist in the upper area of the avenue, points out that “you can see more movement”, although little for what they were used to. “I lost all the customers on the way. It was a stick after the pandemic and coming back is not easy, “he explains. Likewise, he relates that the months that the works lasted were “horrible” and that he did not consider closing, but quite the opposite: “I had to open more hours, work more, to be able to earn some money. I lived with what I usually get on weekends, which is very little, and which is the money of the people of the area that they leave here when they come to buy ”.
Evelio is one of those who bet on doing the works in phases, because he says that “after so many months like this, people changed areas to buy.” In addition, regarding the City Council’s campaigns to energize the area, he confesses that “they happened on two occasions to publish a poster with the businesses on the avenue and did nothing else.”