NAPLES — Downtown Naples shoppers will encounter construction in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Workers will renovate the facades of six businesses along the north side of Fifth Avenue South between East Lake Drive and Fifth Street South.
Phil McCabe, owner of the six-unit property as well as the Inn on Fifth, hopes the project will done by Christmas and said all businesses will stay open.
Jarred Kaplan, owner of Provident Jewelry at 541 Fifth Ave. S., worried the timing of the renovations would hinder business during what is considered the busiest month for his store.
Kaplan, 40, said he sat outside his store for three hours Tuesday morning in protest. He later met with McCabe and the two agreed the scaffolding would be taken down for Provident's Christmas party Dec. 9 and replaced the following day.
"Anything that may stop a potential client from walking in is kind of scary," Kaplan said of the construction.
Kaplan operates a second, larger Provident Jewelry location at 766 Fifth Avenue South, which is not undergoing renovation this season.
McCabe received permits for temporary signs for each business. A few stores continued to display "open" signs or propped their doors open Tuesday.
Owners in the strip said they looked forward to the face-lift.
"I'm a little concerned (about the timing), but it is what it is," said Julie Griffin, owner of the boutique Julie's of Naples. "I'm looking at the end result and how it's going to be a plus for us."
Griffin said her sales usually dip this time of year leading up to Christmas, but had her usual number of customers drop in the store Tuesday despite the scaffolding outside.
Steve Martin, assistant manager at the Florida Olive Oil Co., said he was not worried that noise from construction or the appearance of the scaffolding would deter customers.
"We're getting a new facade and new signs and it doesn't cost us anything," he said.
Emil Atanassov and Ralitsa Kancheva, co-owners of The Brick Coffee & Bar, said the timing was not ideal for their business, but that they were given plenty of notice about McCabe's plans.
"We lost the outside seating," Atanassov said, referring to the five tables he took down to make way for construction crews. Customers sat inside Tuesday afternoon.
"But it will be nicer when it's done," Atanassov said.
McCabe said four months of obtaining permits through the city went into the project, which he slated for completion before Christmas "when our season really begins."
"On Fifth Avenue, the first three weeks of December are actually very slow," McCabe said. "A lot of people leave and go back home for Christmas."
McCabe said his goal is to modernize the building, updating the brick exterior to a stuccoed columns. New signs will be backlit and LED lights will illuminate the store front and new columns from above and below.
McCabe said the owners of Grace & Shelly's Cupcakes are planning their grand opening in the strip after construction finishes.
Tropics Real Estate LLC also operates in the strip.
McCabe is working on a second construction project for his building at the intersection of Fifth Avenue South and Park Street. A three-story building will replace the one-story structure and house a JPMorgan Chase Bank and more suites for his hotel, the Inn on Fifth.