Residents, businesses hope for quick end to sewer project
The announcement last week by the Narragansett Bay Commission that the sewer and water line extension project currently taking place on Greenville Avenue was behind schedule was hard to take for some residents.
“It’s taking forever and it’s a huge inconvenience. I feel so sorry for the people who live in the area,” wrote Pat Senecal Muscatelli on the Johnston Sun Rise Facebook page.
“I never know which way I can go home, get home, if I’ll be delayed, how people can get to my house, what bull!” wrote Julie Francis. “These roads are awful.”
While residents have been inconvenienced, businesses in the area have struggled to bring in customers through the construction zone.
Lisa Baillargeon, owner of Fabulocity at 269 Greenville Avenue, has been in business since August 2011. Her upscale consignment and fine gift emporium was originally opened in Smithfield around the corner from TJ Maxx. Lisa then moved her business to its current location in May.
“It’s been difficult,” she said. “Right now we’re just trying to look at the bright side that we’ll have an exit off 295 once this is over and that not everyone is going to be taking the 295 exit. There’s going to be people coming from Killingly Street and driving right past here to get to Citizens. Prices are double in Smithfield, so we’d really like to stay here.”
Living in North Smithfield, Lisa went to Boston for college and law school and lived for three years in New York City working in design. She’s an inactive attorney and, after a car accident in 2002 that damaged her neck and spinal column, she decided to change her life. Later diagnosed with Lyme disease, the mother of three sons aged 14, 11 and 7, Lisa resolved to take her family in a different direction.
“The store is my sanctuary. I call this my ‘mommy track job.’ This is my self-assigned mommy track position. It’s a busy schedule,” she said. “I thought that this could be something that I could keep mother’s hours. I have two part-time employees that make that possible.”
While a consignment shop, one-third of the store merchandise is new product with a heavy focus on gifts and designer clothing. The store also carries humorous and novelty items. The store also accepts and purchases clothing that’s two to three years old from customers. Lisa said that customers visit the store to find designer clothing and brands found at areas like Garden City shops, without having to pay the higher prices found there.
Fabulocity also has an “Acre of Prom,” a mix of consigned gowns and also ones brought in from wholesalers in Dallas and New York, for teens and black tie events for adults. Prices depend on the brands, with some dresses starting at $50.
With jewelry items, designer handbags, fine clothing, along with items that would be considered conversation starters, her store if filled with fun and unique things for all tastes. While she recognizes the need for change, she hopes that the construction project won’t suffer further setbacks.
“Everyone has been very friendly,” said Lisa about working with officials in town. “Most of my customers were happy that we are still around, that it’s only about six minutes from our old store without the construction.”
She’s worked through inconveniences such as construction and electrical trucks parked in the store’s lot, along with road closures. But Lisa said she appreciates her customer’s patience with the construction and is hopeful for a bright holiday sales season.
“Every possible challenge that could have been thrown at us has been thrown at us,” she said. “The bright side is I have a lovely landlord; they refer as many customers over to us as they can. We’re trying to make it work here.”
Fabulocity is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information visit their website at www.fabulocityri.com.