GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — People are invited to celebrate the reopening of dozens of businesses along Williams Drive in Georgetown now that evacuations from a natural gas leak are no longer in effect.
On Saturday the City of Georgetown and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce are holding a Williams Drive Re-launch block party. Organizers hope the event will boost business in the area where evacuations of homes and businesses started happening on Feb. 20.
The event will be held in the parking lot of Lone Star Circle of Care, located at 2425 Williams Drive.
A ceremonial ribbon cutting will happen at 9 a.m., followed by live entertainment as well as food and drinks served by restaurants affected by the evacuations.
A schedule of events can be found here.
The Hydrate Juice Bar will participate in the event Saturday even though it actually reopened on April 12. Manager Nicole Harris said customers have not exactly poured in the way she thought they would when the store reopened after seven weeks.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people didn’t know we were open, and it was really, really slow. The weather was not great, but over time things are getting better. Everybody’s now aware.”
She said she and the owners of Hydrate are still working with Atmos Energy to receive compensation for the estimated loss of profits that their business suffered during the forced closure.
The natural gas company, however, did provide payments to businesses to cover expenses like salaries, utilities and rents. Displaced homeowners also received hotel accommodations and stipends of $100 a day during the evacuation order.
Elizabeth Hill finally got to reopen her dog grooming business, Mutz & Kutz, after seven weeks. She said she hired another groomer to help with the dogs after one worker left during the evacuation period to take a different job.
“[Business] has been good,” Hill said. “We made a call list, and just called everyone that we had on the list back and starting scheduling them.”
In the same shopping center, a ‘Help Wanted’ sign hangs outside the Mariachis de Jalisco restaurant.
Owner Jaime Fernandez told KXAN that he is hiring in all areas because he needs to replace the cooks, bartenders and servers who got new jobs during the weeks-long evacuation.
The restaurant will join about a dozen other businesses along Williams Drive at a job fair on June 5. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Georgetown Health Foundation’s Community Rooms, located at 2425 Williams Drive, Suite 101.
The event is free to attend, and people seeking jobs are encouraged to bring their resumes.