Fargo firm's parking lot work easier, but jobs more sparse thanks to COVID-19's disruptions
FARGO - If there’s one bunch that’s had an easier time working through disruptions caused by the COVID-19 virus in the area, it’s the crew at Advanced Striping and Sealcoating.
It’s a mixed blessing that owner Tyler Anderson is still processing.
With the sun reaching toward noon Tuesday, April 28, Matt Grund was using one of the Fargo firm's skid-steer loaders to rip up cracks and potholes in the asphalt parking lot for Family Wellness and the Sanford POWER Center. in southwest Fargo.
“This is really bizarre. This is pretty crazy,” Anderson said looking over the all-but-empty lot.
If his crew works during the day, they must set up traffic control to channel vehicles around the jobsite. So often they’ll start at 10 or 11 p.m. and work until the sun rises and early birds arrive to work or workout.
“It’s very bizarre,” Anderson says, the words becoming a mantra.
The time to repair, stripe and sealcoat lots is trimmed, and "to be able to work during the day, during light, is awesome,” Anderson said.
But the downside is there.
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People, many of them laid off or furloughed, aren’t shopping or eating out. No haircuts. No hitting the gym.
Many of Anderson’s potential customers - landlords and business owners - are trying to figure out how to survive revenue losses due to weeks of closures or limited business.
“The Wellness Center is going out of the way to do this,” lot work, so members will have something nicer to come back to, Anderson said. He also has contracts for striping for new construction projects.
For other businesses that he normally does work, restriping lots is now a lot closer to the bottom of the to-do list, he said.
He’s been able to keep his core group of seven workers busy. In nice weather, it's normally double that, but the demand hasn't been there to hire more help.
“It’s definitely slower, which is too bad,” he said. “Our job is easier. There’s just not enough work.”
Anderson is torn. He wonders if restrictions on businesses are being lifted too early. At the same time, he sympathizes with people, some of them friends, who own restaurants, gyms and other businesses.
“We’re lucky we’re not a restaurant. That’s terrible for them,” Anderson said, before looking back across the empty expanse of potholed asphalt and faded yellow stripes that keep his bills paid.
“It’s really weird coming to places like this,” Anderson said. “It’s bizarre.”