CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Song Kim came to Charlotte from South Korea, looking for opportunity. She found it in the beauty supply business.
“We need to take care of our customers. They are our friends. We love them,” said Kim.
Yes, Kim loves her customers. But it's tough selling on Independence Boulevard, she says.
What was once a boom area is now considered by many, to be a bust. Business after business here are folding.
“We have a two year lease here. We cannot leave,” said Kim.
She'll be here during what will be a a critical time for Independence Boulevard.
NBC Charlotte investigated and learned the North Carolina DOT and the contractor on that $170 million road widening and improvement project here are finally getting started, meeting Thursday, after being delayed for more than a year.
"We're really worried about what's going to happen, especially watching other businesses close down on Independence one by one,” said Steve Mavroidis.
Mavroidis owns the Greek Market on Independence Boulevard. He'll be watching the project closely, a little too closely.
“This is actually where the construction barricade will be at right here,” he said, as he showed our cameras where the barricade will go.
‘In fact it's underneath my awning,” he said.
The state hopes new lanes in each direction and three new bridges will ease traffic.
Business owners just want the DOT and contractor to get started.
“It's hard to survive. But I heard all these people lose their jobs. We need the job,” said Kim.
The DOT will also hold public meetings, perhaps as soon as April, for public input on how it should proceed with rerouting traffic and keeping pedestrians safe during construction.
The project will take until 2014 to complete.