Local businesses contend with relocation ahead of TDOT project on Elk Avenue

D & K Tax Service in Elizabethton moved from its previous location near downtown Elizabethton to 203 Cherokee Park Drive, thanks mostly due to TDOT’s planned expansion of the strip of Elk Avenue that intersects Broad Street, though the process was not a smooth one.

Owner Kathy Hamby said she knew about the necessity to move for several years, but was not allowed to make that move until last September, a wait filled with stress and financial concern.

“They told us last February it was weeks away,” Hamby said.

The road widening is part of TDOT’s plan to ease congestion on the road and allow better driving conditions. Part of the project started recently with the removal of the Shell gas station at the corner of Broad Street and Elk Avenue.

However, despite receiving the news in February of 2019, Hamby said she heard nothing from TDOT in the weeks following, leaving them in a tough spot.

“It has been very stressful,” she said. “I thought we were going to move in the middle of tax season.”

TDOT said it would be reimbursing businesses who needed to move as a result of the project. As a result, however, businesses could not move until TDOT cleared their reimbursement. She said D & K did not get the all-clear for months, during which time the financial uncertainty was taking its toll.

This included having to secure their new place ahead of time, therefore paying rent on two different properties simultaneously while not being allowed to use the new building at all. Because much of their job requires online access, they had to figure out how to switch their account over. In the process, however, instead of simply transferring them over, D & K ended up with entirely new accounts without closing the old ones.

“At one point, we had three Spectrum accounts,” Hamby said.

They stopped paying for upkeep on a building that was marked for demolition, so she said the property was beginning to fall apart by the time they could finally leave.

She said she made repeated inquiries into the status on their reimbursement, but said she met with a string of redirected phone calls and voice mails.

“They strung us along forever,” she said.

When TDOT finally did come through in September, she said the company completed their move that weekend, just three days after being cleared.

Now next door to Tractor Supply, Hamby said the new location is much nicer, though the rent is twice as high.

“We serve over 1,000 people,” she said. “The building is so much nicer. It is now easier to get in and out.”

The stress and multiple extra payments aside, Hamby said other businesses near them fared tougher experiences than them, including Paradise Professional Hair, but she said no one had to permanently close, to her knowledge.

“Buildings are hard to find in Elizabethton,” Hamby said. “I am so glad we got this new place.”

She said unlike the old location, D & K does not allow smoking in its new building.

She said the business is ready for its customers to find them for their financial needs.

“We do payroll, book-keeping, sales taxes and more,” Hamby said. “I hope the customers find us.”

For more information on D & K Tax Service, call them at 423-543-5393 or visit them in person at 203 Cherokee Park Drive.

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