Construction on West University Avenue and 14th Street is preventing customers from accessing their beloved burrito bar.
But locals are doing everything possible to ensure owner Randy Akerson’s Burrito Brothers Taco Co. is here to stay.
Alumnus Dev Gupta has been a customer of the 40-year-old restaurant since his freshman year of college 10 years go.
“Food is a major part of the college experience,” he said. “It would be a shame for the business to die due to construction.”
Akerson is overwhelmed by the amount of support he has received. His business is one of the oldest in Gainesville.
“I am stunned,” Akerson said. “People have fought their way in here, parking illegally and parking in other people’s parking lots just to show support.”
He said the last couple of days have been the busiest weekdays in a long time.
“I’m honestly loved and enormously gratified,” he said.
In an email last week, Akerson expressed his frustrations to Mayor Lauren Poe about how the construction for The Standard at Gainesville, a new apartment complex, has eliminated all parking spots near him and is harming his business.
Several supporters have also emailed the mayor in hopes that the city will do something to better the situation.
Although it is against state law for the city to give private businesses money, Poe said he hopes to get the word out about the business’ troubles.
“What people have done for me is largely in the nature of moral support, and that’s priceless, but someone that doesn’t have 40 years of loyal customer base to fall back on, I wouldn’t have any advice to give,” Akerson said.
County Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos wrote in a text message that construction should be completed by Friday, October 7. However, Landmark Properties spokesman Brian Brodrick said the construction on 14th Street should be completed by Oct. 10.