Development Projects

Sugar House Area Businesses Need Community Support

Road construction in Sugar House is not only causing confusion for drivers, it is causing problems for local businesses. It’s never been more important for people to get out and support these businesses.


If you’ve tried to visit any Sugar House businesses lately, you know how easy it is to get deterred by the construction mess. Full reconstruction of the 2100 South and Highland Drive intersection began this fall, and reconstruction of 2100 South from 900 East to 1300 East is set to begin in early 2024. 

“This is not going to be easy the next couple of years on the businesses,” says Brandon Hill, Co-Chair of the Sugar House Chamber of Commerce.

Chris Howard, owner of Fankhauser Jewelry, a fine watch repair shop located near the corner of 2100 South and Highland, acknowledges that the project needs to be done; he just wishes it could be done in a way that minimizes the impact on businesses like his. Howard says, “It’s been definitely slower with the construction.” He says that parking is an issue and he doesn’t get nearly the same walk-in business. For a few days in mid-November, the construction made it nearly impossible to access his shop. 

When asked to quantify his losses for a construction mitigation grant offered by the city, Howard said it’s hard to estimate since his business focuses mainly on repairs, so if customers aren’t able to drop off their goods, it won’t affect him for months down the line. He’s still waiting to hear back from the city to see if he will receive any grant money.  

Bob Campbell, owner of All About Coins, also located near 2100 South and Highland, said that his numbers have been way down, and his numbers aren’t the only thing he’s concerned with. “It is one thing closing the road, but it’s hard to get any work done with all the flashing lights and noise,” Campbell said. He also said the road work has been so rattling at times that it’s knocked items off their shelves. He also expressed frustration that the city isn’t checking in more with local businesses to see how they are faring with the disruptions. 

I decided to pay a visit to the businesses on 2100 South and Highland to check out the construction for myself. I parked near the Sprague Branch Library, walked north down Highland, and then attempted to cross 2100 South. I found no ‘sidewalk closed’ signs, no signs pointing out how to access these businesses, and no signs pointing out the nearest open crosswalk, so I ducked in between construction trucks to cross the road and hoped for the best. Ironically, I saw both a ‘no right turn’ sign and a ‘no left turn’ sign upon exiting the parking lot and turning onto Highland Drive, but there was no option to go straight. 

When I asked Hill about the lack of signage, he said that in the early stages of construction, the Sugar House Chamber invested in signs pointing out business access and additional parking areas. Unfortunately, these signs were repeatedly stolen and they couldn’t justify making more with their limited budget. Instead, the Chamber has focused its efforts on getting the message out that Sugar House shops are open and in need of community support during the lengthy construction process. 

“It’s never been more important for people to get out and support the local businesses,” says Hill. He encourages people to visit the website for Sugar House area business information and news on local events. They are currently running a #ShopSugarHouse contest where if you share photos of your favorite Sugar House shop, restaurant, park, or other locale, you can win prizes from local Sugar House businesses. 

Hill says that now Sugar House area businesses have gotten over the initial shock of the long-anticipated start of these construction projects, he’d like to focus efforts on what Sugar House will look like moving forward and find ways to boost visitation to the area despite the mess.

Feature Image: With all the construction happening in Sugar House pedestrians and motorists are frustrated and confused. Image by Amiee Maxwell.

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