Construction stretching along 900 East in Provo has created its fair share of problems for traffic and drivers, but it is also creating problems for BYU’s Creamery on Ninth.
The work on 900 East and around the J. Reuben Clark Law School has already greatly changed the face of campus. Outdoors Unlimited has moved from its spot in the Wilkinson Student Center over to the north side of campus on North Canyon Road. Traffic along 900 East has become slow and congested as construction stretches from up past the MTC all the way down to the south end of campus. And along with these changes, business coming into the Creamery on Ninth has decreased significantly.
Jason Carter, general manager of the BYU Creameries, is concerned with how the Creamery on Ninth has been affected.
“Versus last year we are down 30 percent in sales for the month of May,” Carter said.
The Creamery usually experiences some dip in sales as students leave campus during spring and summer, but this figure has already taken those percentages into account. Carter feels that the construction has played a part in how the store has been doing recently.
Problems first began when the construction started and the Creamery on Ninth closed for a few days in order to retile its floors. When the shop reopened for business, hardly any customers came in. In order to attract customers, signs were put up in the windows explaining that the Creamery was still open for business.
“Even with the big signs in the windows that say we’re still open, because (the construction) is right in front of our building, it’s a major project and it looked like it was closed, but we’re not,” Carter said.
When the intersection on 900 E. and Heritage Drive was closed shortly after, many people were confused about how to get into the Creamery. The parking lot north of the building has been demolished and a new, temporary parking lot can now be found on the west side of the building. The new parking lot has helped by giving customers a place to park as the construction continues, but Keith Cook, manager of the Creamery on Ninth, noticed that foot traffic has dropped a lot due to construction.
“A lot of customers make the comment that it is really hard to get in here,” Cook said. “The nice thing is that they are faithful enough that they have found a way.”
Victoria Pace, a resident of Provo, is one of those faithful customers. Despite the construction, Pace still goes to the Creamery on Ninth.
“The construction hasn’t really affected me; I just haven’t happened to come. I was trying to cut back on my money spending. That’s why I didn’t come; it wasn’t because of the construction,” Pace said. “I’m a diehard Creamery fan. I like the milk. I think they have high-quality products.”
Not everyone is a “diehard Creamery fan,” and many have been deterred because of the construction.
Brad Ackerson, a BYU senior from Portland, Ore., studying neuroscience, comes into the Creamery on his way back from the MTC every once in a while because it is convenient.
“(The Creamery) is super convenient being the only thing on this side of University Avenue, basically,” Ackerson said. “I used to come (in maybe) a couple of times a month, but yeah I haven’t been here since the construction started.”
Another customer, Erin Willder, an adjunct professor of editing at BYU, mentioned that she would drive home different ways in order to avoid the construction traffic. Those routes would take her home different ways, making it harder for her to stop by the Creamery.
Although constant construction and changes on 900 East have affected the number of people making their way into the Creamery on Ninth, Carter has been happy with the way the construction has been handled. The construction manager has been very helpful in notifying Carter of any changes in the way the street is set up. This has allowed Carter and Cook to adapt to the different situations they have to face with the construction.
Carter and Cook also mentioned that they can’t complain about the construction because many of the construction workers end up eating lunch at the Creamery and, in doing so, bringing the establishment business it otherwise wouldn’t have.
Construction affecting the Creamery is expected to be completed sometime in August, prior to the beginning of fall semester.
The BYU Creamery has four locations around campus: the Creamery on Ninth, the Creamery Outlet by the Morris Center, the Wyview Creamery, and the Helaman Halls Creamery. All locations of the BYU Creamery are open to serve campus during construction.