Businesses adjust as construction discourages customers
Intersection work at Tanque Verde and Sabino Canyon makes customers work harder to reach businesses. The City of Tucson and RTA are trying to reduce the drag on businesses.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Drivers are in for a traffic headache as crews begin setting up a major cone zone on Tucson's east side.
Businesses near the construction are bracing for impact during construction while the project promises to ease congestion once finished.
The project is at the intersection of Tanque Verde and Sabino Canyon. Work's been under way since October, but the pace is picking up. Drivers will feel it more and businesses are worried about how it will affect them too.
Businesses will probably benefit when intersection improvements at Tanque Verde and Sabino Canyon make it easier for more drivers to visit their stores but for now the barricades seem like something that could send customers somewhere else.
Loyal customers are helping Desert Vista Ace Hardware keep going but the construction is still having an impact.
Joseph French says, "We've been about the same as always throughout the day like right now would be a normal day here but yeah, rush hour, time afternoons are dead now. Absolutely."
French says the store is stepping up advertising to keep the customers coming.
At Cost Cutters they say they're feeling the impact, and think it will probably get worse.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Cost Cutters manager Marleah Farmer: "Are there things you can do to adjust and adapt a little?"
Farmer says, "We have done a one-stop shop where if anybody does any type of shopping in the center and they bring us their receipt then they can get 20 percent off their services."
The city has been trying to help in a variety of ways, including relaxing restrictions on A-frame signs so businesses can cut through the clutter and remind customers they're still open for business.
The Regional Transportation Authority has a program called Main Street that offers businesses advice on how to stay healthy during construction.
Postnet's business is printing and mailing so Larry Franks has been developing a plan to print and mail ads, for his shop and others in the construction zone. He says he's also getting good advice from the RTA consultants.
"They've talked to us from the point of view of some management consultancy which we've taken advantage of, also some graphic design work which we've taken advantage of and there's some search engine help, search engine optimization through the internet that they're gonna help us with so they've really been very nice and very co-operative."
The project is due to finish in August but the impact on different businesses will vary across the construction period. Because the project is constructed in phases, work may wrap up in some spots in a matter of weeks and improve access for businesses in that segment of the project.