Businesses along light rail hopeful now that service is launched

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Businesses along tracks could benefit

PHOENIX - The Valley light rail is finally up and running.

Many took the opportunity on Monday to catch a ride to work, but businesses along the route are hoping many will also spend some money, after suffering through years of construction.

Inside Unique Urban Boutique, the ringing is rare these days. " It's tough.We've cut everything we can cut," explains Doug Klinge. He hopes the ringing outside can change that.

Klinge says he lost 80% of his business during light rail construction on Central at Camelback. Three-quarters of his neighbors fared worse and went out of business. He explains, "They said our street would be closed for 6 months.It was closed for 3 years off and on."

For those who held on, there could be triumph along the tracks.

Joel Miller opened up Maizie's Cafe last May. He explains, "The people from the neighborhood, north and south of us, this is their hangout."

His business may not be bolstered by locals now. Saturday was his busiest day ever and was also the first day that the light rail brought in visitors.

Miller says it will take some time, but he expects about a 15% increase thanks to the train cars.

Miller says, "They're gonna say 'You know what, I'm gonna keep riding it to ballgames, to work' and it is going to affect businesses."

It is an effect that has to happen soon for many, a payback for the pain, they say, that is long overdue.