Advice and Experience
Kent Stadler, owner of Kent's Shoes, used radio advertising and a sense of humor to communicate with his customers during the East 'O' Street widening project. Messages in his advertising included making challenges to his mostly male clientele ("It's a man thing to get to Kent's Shoes") and renaming the intersection where his store is located to "66th and Shoe" instead of 66th and "Q" Streets.
In spite of the closure of that intersection, Stadler said his business was more profitable that year than the year before.
"There's never a good time to do this (construction), but it's got to be done."
"A business has to be ready and willing to speak up and to tell their people what's going on–or they're not going to find you during construction…My guys found me."
Chad Winters, owner of Leon's Food Mart, used existing means of communication to tell his customers about construction occurring on South Street in front of his store. The store printed maps in its regular weekly newspaper inserts with the message, "You can still get to us."
Winters also held a cookout promotion during Independence Day week, with a local radio station doing a live remote broadcast. His store also hung posters and worked with area merchants to produce signs directing motorists to area stores.
Terry Reynoldson, assistant manager for Earl May Nursery and Garden Center, said his store offered special promotions during the East 'O' Street project. The store advertised the promotions in the newspaper with maps illustrating how to get to the store. The store also rewarded customers who ventured through the inconvenience of the construction by giving them discount coupons for their next visit.
Reynoldson said getting to know the project manager was also helpful.
"It was good having one person to talk to," he said.
Wendy Birdsall, president of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, said her organization can be a resource for businesses. In the past, the Chamber has acted as a liaison to make sure the impacts to individual businesses are understood by the City and the contractor.