Ruthrauff construction stomping out business

Ruthrauff construction stomping out business
Cowtown Boots sees decline in sales on busy rodeo week after Ruthrauff construction ramps up. (Source: KOLD)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Ruthrauff construction continues, and right in the middle of the rodeo, it’s leaving one business in the area pulling themselves up by the bootstraps.

Tom McDowell had plans of hitting the rodeo before the Saturday rain ruined his plans. To kill time, he decided to stop by Cowtown Boots to get a new pair of kicks. Unfortunately, he ended up killing a little more time than he planned just finding the place.

“It was impossible finding (Cowtown Boots) because we knew where it was, but the exit was closed getting here,” he said. “So, we made three laps, and then finally called them and said, “how in the hell do you get there?’”

The store is off I-10 and Ruthrauff—right in the middle of the overpass project. McDowell is not the only person having a hard time finding it. The store manager guesses a few dozen people call every day with the same problem—they can’t figure out how to get around the construction to shop at the store. It couldn’t come at a worse time.

“It’s the time of year we make most of our income,” said Sherry Pundt, who manages the Cowtown Boots off Ruthrauff.

The Tucson rodeo is their literal cash cow for the year. The store even ordered 1,500 extra pairs of boots for the usual uptick in sales. However, a lot of that stock is still on the shelves. Pundt estimates sales have dropped 15-20 percent from last year around the same time.

“We wish they could’ve planned this a week later,” she said.

The rodeo kicked off on Feb. 15, but the day before ADOT closed Ruthrauff and Camino del Cerro under I-10. The frontage road has remained open for business access to places like Cowtown.

The store said, in the end, the new intersection will be nice, but in the meantime, they’re hoping to rely on regulars and boosted advertising throughout the two-year project.

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