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SIOUX FALLS | It's possible to get to Kaladi's Bistro without navigating orange cones on Minnesota Avenue.

The coffee shop and other nearby businesses have a parking lot with access to Dakota Avenue — no need to worry at all about congestion on Minnesota.

That's what Mark Gillespie tells people.

Road construction just outside the cafe's main entrance has been hurting his business, said Gillespie, who co-owns Kaladi's and manages daily operations.

"We're trying to stay as positive as we can," Gillespie said.

Crews have already been busy for months upgrading the road surface and underground utilities along Minnesota Avenue, between 22nd and 28th streets, and occasionally as far south as 41st Street.

And they have months to go.

The $3 million upgrade started in May and is scheduled to last until November.

It's a busy stretch of road that served more than 27,000 drivers a day before construction started. Nearby 26th Street is also an otherwise popular roadway where it connects with Minnesota, serving about 27,000 drivers per day.

The work was needed to replace the old pavement and underground sewer lines, while updating the streetlights and traffic signals, according to the city.

Construction has had a dampening effect on what typically a bustling commercial area. The corridor is home to a gas station, a car dealership, restaurants, banks, coffee shops, administrative offices and other locally run businesses.

Piper Custom Framing and Fine Art Gallery opened near the corner of Minnesota and 27th about 14 years ago, and this is at least the third time the street out front has undergone construction, owner Jon Piper said.

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Thankfully his business is more of a destination for customers, including corporate clients who use Piper's for its art consulting services, Piper said. He has noticed fewer drop-in customers, even though they're only a portion of his business.

"I'm patient, and you know to have any progress you're going to have to put up with the pains," Piper said.

For Kaladi's, sales have slowed enough to cause uncertainty for staff, who rely on tips as part of their wage, Gillespie said. 

It's not as much of a problem of access than it is a problem of perception. Sioux Falls residents are just avoiding the area because they know traffic is affected.

"People get construction in their heads," Gillespie said. "They think it's probably more difficult than it is."

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