Customers also complaining about construction noise, says café supervisor
Balzac’s sales have dropped 10 per cent since construction began on Gould Street last spring, according to café supervisor Jordan Cesarone.
“It’s pretty drastic,” Cesarone said regarding the sales drops. “Everybody complains that we have the patio because nobody wants to sit there and watch the construction and hear it.
“Even from inside, they complain about the noise … We’ve had a few people say that [Balzac’s] should get curtains so that they don’t have to look at it. They do not like it,” she added.
The construction project was undertaken to replace all the trees in the area and “implement essential infrastructure upgrades,” according to a Ryerson press release last March.
“The construction is pretty annoying,” Thomas West, a second-year sports media student, said. “I think it’s the noise that’s affecting me the most.”
Some students also said that their commutes to class are more difficult and that they choose to avoid the area altogether.
“With Balzac’s, I don’t really go there often, but I wouldn’t go now just because of the construction as well,” Hamaseh Sobati, a first-year business student, said. “It’s just a struggle. That entire section is not something I want to deal with.”
A Ryerson graduate student in business, Sohrab Mashhadizadeh, said there are ways to combat the impact that construction has on businesses.
“You can provide incentives, aside from the prices… for example, buy-one-get-one cookies. It’s a promotional thing, not a discount. You should not associate whatever you’re doing, whatever incentives, with the construction, because you want to be able to remove the incentive when the construction is done, without affecting the mindset of the customers.”
Cesarone was unable to comment on this suggestion, as she said the shop itself doesn’t make those decisions.
Extended construction has had effects on other businesses throughout Toronto, as well. The city has looked into compensating businesses affected by the current LRT construction on Eglinton Avenue, according to the Toronto Star.
Some regulars at Ryerson however said that the construction wouldn’t keep them away from the coffee shop at the centre of campus.
“I enjoy [Balzac’s] for the internal atmosphere and what the café itself has to offer, not necessarily the external factors such as construction,” Hunter Currie, a fourth-year philosophy student, said.
“We live in Toronto, so you get used to detours … It’s a small price to pay for hopefully something that’s a lot better,” Mitch Wheeler, a Ryerson alumnus, said.