With more businesses moving to Stadium, is Caraway Road dying?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Calling it quits on Caraway. With the Indian Mall gone, it seems many businesses are leaving the area.

The mall is nothing but an empty lot now. Across the street, the Coca Cola plant sits empty and multiple businesses and restaurants along the once busy thoroughfare sit empty. Begging the question...is Caraway Road dying?

Between the buildings now up for lease, parking lots that sit empty and open signs that no longer flash, it's not hard to see that Caraway Road isn't what it once was.

"Caraway in it's prime, when the mall was here, was very good to us," Area General Manager at Wings to Go, Chris Weaver told Region 8 News.

Weaver explained that their customer base hasn't dwindled over the year. He has, however, seen something else slow.

"The traffic, definitely, because it's more toward Stadium now," Weaver said.

That's one of the reasons they're leaving what's been their home for the past 14 years to go to Stadium as well.

"We have outgrown this building," Weaver said "We need to add a few things to it and we can't do that without total reconstruction of it."

That sentiment rings true with Fat City Steak and Grill house.

"We moved simply because we simply felt like we needed a new building to continue to grow," Managing Partner, Tom Fielder said.

Fielder believes they would still see a good number of customers at their location on Caraway.

"Our moving certainly had nothing to do with any type of traffic pattern other the traffic pattern out this direction on 49 has certainly grown leaps and bounds in a very short period of time," Fielder said.

Both businesses agree: Caraway is still alive and well.

"It's changing," Fielder told Region 8 News. "Maybe the type of business that Caraway Road handles will change, will be different than what it has been, but dying? No."

"I think you're giving opportunities to people that are out of the Caraway location area to be able to come in," Weaver explained. "Get inside the area, what I call the square of Jonesboro."

Traffic patterns from the Jonesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization show that from 2000 to 2011, the number of cars traveling from the intersection of Highland and Caraway toward Arkansas State University has dropped.

Traffic from Highland and Caraway toward Highway 63, however, has increased.

According to numbers from the Jonesboro MPO, between Matthews Avenue and Stallings Lane along Caraway, the number of cars traveling it has dropped from 25,000 to 18,000 in an eleven year span.

On the opposite end of that, the number of cars traveling between Race Street and Phillips Drive has gone up from 16,000 to 23,000 cars.

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