Phoenix coffee shop loses business, closes down due to Central Avenue light rail construction

A south Phoenix small business owner says she's a victim of light rail construction after previously falling victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, like so many other businesses.

It was back-to-back hits for the businesses that will eventually have a light rail train running up and down Central Avenue, but after waiting for ongoing construction to be finished for a couple of years now, a coffee shop owner is forced to close her business.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you, for this beautiful, beautiful experience. May everybody be well, be blessed, and peace be with you," said Sandra Flores with Azukar Coffee in an Instagram post.

Flores announced her coffee shop on Central Avenue near Baseline Road would close after four years. Her Instagram post cited the reason for the closure is the ongoing construction on south Central Avenue, making way for a new light rail route.

It’s been going on since 2019, and is set to be done in 2024.

"We cannot bear to see our community in shambles with construction, so Azukar is closed. We still have a lot of love to give and we look forward to a future! So stay tuned," she said, in part, on her Instagram post.

The shop now sits empty, with tables and a vibrant mural left behind, but Sam Gomez with the Sagrado Art Gallery says they’ll try to save the mural at the shop.

"The goal is when Azukar opens back up, return it to them, to kind of keep that legacy they’ve been building for the past four years," Gomez said.

The gallery is about a half-mile away from the coffee shop.

Gomez has seen the strain of the construction and the pandemic, saying, "When you go down south Central, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle. One day you can turn, the next day it might be blocked off."

The City of Phoenix does offer assistance to the businesses on the route and Azukar did take part. She got $3,000 from the fund, with the city saying about 75% of the businesses in the corridor take part.

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