For years, entrepreneurs and customers alike have tolerated noisy, obstructive construction, understanding that such public projects will likely improve their business and shopping experiences in the future. But what about the toll this construction takes on businesses while work is ongoing? Several companies in Safford, AZ have noted that their city’s decision to redesign its Main Street is beginning to take a toll, making some wonder if the ends will justify the means.
Most of Safford’s Main Street businesses say that their primary concerns are the road closures and limited parking: for example, John Fitzgerald of Carpet, Tile and More told the Eastern Arizona Courier News that the frequent road closures and loss of parking near the store had caused his business to decrease at least a third in recent weeks. Other store owners speculated that this could be due to the confusion that has surrounded the construction work: many customers have reportedly assumed that closure signs in the area mean there is no parking on Main Street.Meanwhile, Joan Bingham of Joan’s Draperies told the Courier News that she has had some difficulties receiving deliveries from her suppliers. Likewise, Teri Romero, a designer at Graham County Florist and China Shop, commented that employees have had problems getting to work some days. Both seemed excited to see the finished results, but these inconveniences can be costly. After all, the florist industry alone employs 90,427 people in the United States and generates an estimated $7 billion in annual revenue; shops need to stay competitive if they are to succeed.Many Main Street businesses say they have countered the impact of the construction through additional marketing efforts; for example, the gift shop Gingerbread and Company and wellness store Indigo Mountain both used email and social media marketing to let customers know that their businesses were still open. As a result, both companies say that they haven’t suffered a significant lost of business over the course of the construction work. Meanwhile, managers at the Main Street Cafe raved about the construction crew, who reportedly rearranged their cones to better accommodate the organization’s day program clients, who have special needs.
While the process has been long and challenging, most Main Street business owners agree that they are looking forward to its completion. Many are hoping that the changes will even draw in more customers. The results of the project have yet to be seen, but it seems that many businesses are willing to buckle down during construction in the hopes of improvement for their communities.