Road Construction What to Expect


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

In Memorium

Rest In Peace

Dec 7, 2001
Or should I say Road Destruction.
Have you gone through road Construction in front of your shop? How many months were the orange barrels up? How did it effect your % of sales. Did anyone have sales increase during construction? What did you do to boost business traffic? Did you move before or after the construction? Did any one fold shop and go to work for other shop?
Good replies rewarded in Framers Heaven

Not an answer for your question, but we are in the same boat. Our road was suppose to be widened beginning April of 2001, we went to the town meeting and were assured that it would begin then. Well, construction meant that we would literally loose the parking for our shop so we moved across the street -- more space and a great parking lot. OK, they still have not started on the road and they are now saying that it will begin April of this year
(yeah, we'll believe it when we see it). We are currently on a 4 lane road with shoulder and curb which will be changed to a 5 lane road with center left turn lane and no shoulder. Really dreading the barrels but it will be great when it is done ...
no telling when it will even start.
Ah yes, the annual updating of the info structure. We survived two years. You can to. Look at the bright side of things. The road will be neater, cleaner and more accessible when they are done. Now hold that thought until they are done.

Look for ways to help yourself while they work. Go back to the basics. Buy some postcards and get Microsoft Office Professional a fast printer that will print on 4 X 6 blank postcards using mail merge. Some $.21 stamps and start your marketing campaign. You will develop parts of your brain that you did not know you had. Good luck. I am sure there are many here who can give you tips and ideas like they did me.

We just got through the second week of a six-month construction project on our street. The street will will totally closed during this period, though the sidewalks will remain open through most of the time.

Obviously, it's a little early to know what the financial impact will be. I have enough work to keep me busy for several weeks and orders have been coming in at a pretty normal pace for February. We have off-street parking accessible from two side streets. I've been very deliberate about letting people know how to get here to pick up orders, and I've been doing more pick-up and delivery. I'm guessing I won't lose a lot of existing customers, but I won't get the drive-by and walk-by folks I normally get.

I moved from another location on the same street about 18 months ago. I considered getting off of College Ave, knowing it would be torn up for 6-9 months this year. I decided that, assuming I can weather the construction, the advantages of remaining on "main street" outweight the hardships.

I'll post more, or email you, as we get further into the project.
Ron I will be egar to see your posts as you are in the early stages.
thanks for posting
I just love these little guys and they are green tooo!
To the ones who have responded thank you all very much. Your suggestions will all go into my orange barrel arsenal.
Guess not many have had the orange barrel experience yet. Or could it be they are just not around any more to Talk about it? Maybe it is just to hard to talk about it? Well think of it as a therapy topic for healing.

We're well into week 3. People are coming in if they have to, and thank God, many feel they just have to. My regulars are calling for directions and I'm sending out little maps.

I don't believe I've seen one <u>new</u> customer since this started, though. They have no way of knowing that it's worth the trouble and I don't happen to think that any amount of <u>institutional</U> advertising is going to convince them to run the gauntlet. If it appears I am in danger of running out of work, I'll consider doing some promotional ads with - choke - coupons for the duration, but it hasn't come to that yet.

Frankly, I'm glad I don't have employees to feed right now. I can tighten my personal and business belts and take some time to spruce the place up. That way, when our beautiful new streetscaping is done in August, I can unvail a spiffy new shop. It's still looking pretty scruffy from my move.

I'll keep you posted.


Update: Just had my first new customer since construction started and that was a referral. He got lost and parked in a tow-away zone about 5 blocks away. Ya gotta admire his determination, but I sincerely hope he didn't get towed.
ARTLADY I thought there would be a lot of help on this one also. I guess the type of shoes you wear makes for a shorter story :confused:
:D :rolleyes:
I love these green guys !

Don't Waite to Create
Hi Gumby,

I do not understand your post. Could you please elaborate?


I can't speak for Gumby, so I will.

He may be disappointed that this thread has generated so few responses, while a thread about framers' footwear has, so far, had 36 or so.

My guess is that, while few of us have experienced a major road construction project in front of our stores and lived to tell about it, all of us (except FramerGuy) wear shoes. Many of us are on our feet all day, so we either love our shoes or we hate them.

Gumby, if it's any consolation, I plan on posting to this thread weekly until our road project is finished sometime in August.

This is my post for this week.

I do not own a shop, so I have no direct experience to relate, but there's a street here in San Antonio that's lined with businesses, and the road was torn up quite a few months ago...the businesses were given a time-frame and, like most city projects, the construction's run way over-time. The last I heard the business-owners were on the five o'clock news threatening to sue for damages if the construction wasn't completed soon. One in particular--a locally owned dry-cleaner--was about to go under because he said competition was fierce to begin with, and this construction has ruined his advantages--i.e., proximity and convenience.

They were laying lines as well, which meant they were digging up the whole road....the problem was exacerbated by all the dust and dirt this kicked up; people were avoiding driving on the road at all because of all the dust that covered their cars afterwards.

This was a month or so ago; I don't remember who the owners were going to sue--the city? The contractor?--but they seemed very determined to seek damages for the millions that they were, as a street, losing.

Beware of city construction. Those monkeys spend all the money they can, and take as long as they can, so that next year their budget won't go the longer a project takes, and the more money they dump into it, the more secure their budget becomes.
I do not own a shop, so I have no direct experience to relate, but there's a street here in San Antonio that's lined with businesses, and the road was torn up quite a few months ago...the businesses were given a time-frame and, like most city projects, the construction's run way over-time. The last I heard the business-owners were on the five o'clock news threatening to sue for damages if the construction wasn't completed soon. One in particular--a locally owned dry-cleaner--was about to go under because he said competition was fierce to begin with, and this construction has ruined his advantages--i.e., proximity and convenience.

They were laying lines as well, which meant they were digging up the whole road....the problem was exacerbated by all the dust and dirt this kicked up; people were avoiding driving on the road at all because of all the dust that covered their cars afterwards.

This was a month or so ago; I don't remember who the owners were going to sue--the city? The contractor?--but they seemed very determined to seek damages for the millions that they were, as a street, losing.

Beware of city construction. Those monkeys spend all the money they can, and take as long as they can, so that next year their budget won't go the longer a project takes, and the more money they dump into it, the more secure their budget becomes.

There are many unknowns in street construction that are found once the ground is broken. One can threaten to sue but the contractors are protected from law suits.

Getting upset and threatening to sue will not save your business. Accept and plan to lose some business. Keep a positive attitude and be a marketing magnet. Look for opportunities under every rock. Advertise alternative routes. Send out 200 postcards a day. Advertise an unresistable special.

Remember when the going gets tough the tough get going. You will be a stronger entrepreneur when all is done.

Try reading marketing and sales books if things are a little slow. Join the local chamber of commerce. Join a networking group. Look for commercial business. Offer afterhours home delivery.

For your own sanity keep a positive attitude by looking passed these events. Remember that when it is finished it will be a whole new world for your area.

Here's a special bonus-post for this week because something ArtLady said about positive attitude jarred a thought that will probably be lost by next week.

When I moved next door to a bakery about 18 months ago, I had all sorts of cooperative ideas cooked up, like handing out tokens for my customers that might have a bit of a wait so they could go next door for coffee and and a donut, or hanging some of my surplus decorative art at the bakery (they have a good-sized sit-down area with good light and empty white walls.) They didn't want any part of any of it. They didn't even have gift certificates when I wanted to purchase some for people who'd helped me with the move.

Well, guess what? Adversity brings people together. This same bakery is now coordinating group newspaper ads for those of us that share a parking lot. They're hosting block meetings to get together with city officials and contractors to discuss issues. They've made special arrangements for employee parking to free up available parking spots for customers.

Apparently, similar things are happening up and down the Avenue. And there's no reason to assume that this new spirit of cooperation will end when the street is done. I plan to make the most of it.


As promised, here is my weekly installment on this issue. BTW, where are you in the road construction process? Coming soon?

<U>Working with the media</U>
Our local newspaper runs frequent maps explaining how to get to the various downtown destinations. That's very helpful. Unfortunately, they also run daily feature stories about what a disastor area the downtown is and how businesses are closing left and right. That's somewhat less helpful. I haven't seen a piece about the new businesses that have actually opened on the avenue in the past few weeks. I'm going to suggest they come and talk to me. My family is still eating regularly and I still have a longer backlog of orders than I'm really comfortable with.

<u>The sympathy factor</U>
Many of my regulars have told me they've actually searched for framing projects 'cause they figure I need the business right now - not later. I've done nothing to dispell this idea. I just let them know how much I appreciate the extra effort it takes to get to my shop.

I've already mentioned how critical it is to communicate with your regulars: How to get around, where to park, pick-up and delivery options, etc. It's equally important to make friends with the construction managers and city officials who might be involved. Several times each day, somebody from the road crew stops in to let us know what's happening and what's likely to happen in the next few days. We get weekly email updates about what cross-streets will be open and how the work is progressing. There is a website, available to businesses and customers, that gives the same info, updated daily. There's even a live webcam on the tallest building downtown that you can point to the area you're interested in and see what's going on.

<U>Working with your neighbors</U>
Remember that you're not competing with other frame shops or other businesses in general during the construction. You're competing with your customers' fear of gravel, bulldozers and orange barrels. You can do that by cooperating with you neighbors - even the ones you don't normally like - in such areas as advertising, signage and parking.

Good luck, Gumby. Let us know where <U>you're</U> at. More next week . . .

Ron, saw pictures of the mess that is College Ave on the news last night. Appleton wanted to let people know they should not climb on the construction equipment. You wouldn't do that now would you,Ron? ;)
Seems weird that they just built that new performing arts center there last year to attract more people to downtown and then this year decide to tear up the road so noone can get there! :eek:

The new performing arts center is scheduled to be done a month or two after the road work is done. Both contractors are trying to coordinate the completion dates to coincide as closely as possible.

For myself, I'm going to try to have my track lighting - that I bought over a year ago - installed by the time the street is done. (Seems like the least I could do.)

And, no, I haven't been climbing on the construction equipment. After listening to it all day, I'm happy to leave it behind when I go home. Did they mention that most of these incidents have been occuring when the bars close? I'm sure that's just a coincidence, though.

Ron thanks for the latest update keep it coming. Maybe we can call it the Ron EGG Chronicles. But it just occured to me that you must be the only one in whole United States let alone the world on The Grumble who is going thru road construction right now. Talk about Elite!
Our just got approved by ODOT to start in springbe done by AUG. :eek: But it will be in two phases which means they will tear it up again in 2004.
Your suggestions are great Anyone else who has road constuction affect their business. please feel free to step up to the plate here. :confused:
I love these green guys! :D
We have road construction scheduled for this summer. Fortunately it is not right in front of our business, unfortunately it is the main highway between our town and the next one to the east we draw alot of business from. Luckily there are alternate routes and most people are familiar with them. This is phase 2, about 5 years ago they tore up the section of this road that runs through our downtown.
The N11 one of the main road ways in Ireland runs right through the Village of Ashford where I live, this month they have started a road project which will run for three years to by pass the Village, my guess is that the Village will die commercially once the by pass is in place and this is given that Ashford is considered to be one of the elite places to live in Ireland, the God’s shone on us when we managed to buy our house in Ashford, in other words we got lucky, I do not think it will affect my business very much as I keep away from domestic type work and concentrate on commercial clients in general I also provide a pick up and drop off service for most of my clients.

We have had road works on the N11 30 miles north and 30 miles south on and off for the last four years with about five more years to go to complete this work, in fact the whole country is like one big building works there is so much construction and road works being carried out.

Gumby et al,

I am SOOOO sorry! I almost forgot about this week's installment.

During the past week, we've had a little army of hard-hats marching through my shop as they disconnected my old water service and connected the new. (MUCH bigger pipe, now. Maybe I can finally flush the toilet.) These guys are friendly and inquisitive. ("Hey, what's this thing? A chopper? You're kidding. Are these blades sharp? OWWW!!!") I'm gonna miss 'em when they're gone. I'm waiting until then to vacuum the carpet.

Most of the activity has moved east, for the time being. In fact, some brave souls are starting to park on the avenue. The penalty for this is either a $200 fine or burial by Bobcat, depending on who catches you.

My opinion so far is this: If you have a loyal core of customers who believe that YOU are "da framer," they will continue to come to you in numbers that will keep you in business. I'm giving everyone a flat 10% discount. I don't advertise this, because that isn't a good enough reason to come in. I just give it to 'em when I quote the price as a show of gratitude for their loyalty.

Next week by this time I'll be in McAllen, TX. Maybe I'll see if there's any road construction going on there and do a live remote.

For now, this is your roving reporter,

Well Thank you Ron for the update. Glad to here you have indoor plumbing now.
:D I just Got back from San Antonio and was observing a street that had just been under seige of construction ( Navarro ) I don't know if this was because of the slump in tourism or the construction but man there were empty store fronts every where. They were even close to Riverwalk if that means anything. Maybe Audrey could fill in some blanks on this?
Well looking forward to a remote broadcast.
Dear Ron,

I am two years ahead of you on the two year construction project. I am so excited my numbers are up 70%. They finished last fall right as the recession and 911 kicked in. So I am shocked at the bounce back. The second year when they were right out front of the plaza digging up the intersection our numbers bounced back to the year before they started. So hang in there. Take your grumble meds, keep your chin up, and do some marketing to keep yourself busy mailing something to those clients.
Hoping that two year construction is not the only motivation for selling shop?

We are looking forward to 5 years of construction on our major north south artery. That is being brought to us by the same people who put so many people out of business in Utah. Business has become more localized. People won't travel across town unless you are giving something away. The project that affects us more profoundly is right out front of our shop. They should have started construction last month. It will last 3 to 4 months. The distance and stench of traffic is now 12 feet plus a parking lane. When they are thru the distance will be 7 feet plus parking.
Are you going to do any promo while construction is going on or are you just going to take a wait and see?
During our twenty-some years of business... we have seen construction in many forms. The worst, in my mind, was when our landlord decided to reface the building. We actually had customers that were SO scared to come to our store, that they would call and ask if we would bring their purchases out to the car. After the construction was over, some customers were surprised to see that we were sill in business! They thought we had closed.

My best advice is... ADVERTISE!!!! Let the people know that you are still there, and you want to serve them!
HI Gumby,

My husband has been transferred to Atlanta. We had talked about moving south to a warmer climate for many years, so we took the transfer. I look at it this way. I am going out on top. We are still up more than 70% year to date. I love Quick Books. Just press a button and your progress is displayed.

I addition, I have talked to Jay Goltz and read his book. He called me out of the blue one day and we had a long chat. Over an hour I think. On his advice we implemented some changes so the bottom line has significantly changed also.

My biggest surprise has been my landlord. They guy is terrific and he has told us that he will bend over backward to keep us. Apparently he likes the idea of a small upscale gallery in the plaza.

Now that the construction is done a specialty Italian market has also openned in the plaza with a tremendous response. People I have never seen are now visiting the plaza and all the shops. All the signs are pointing up. So hang in there all you construction victums, life can get a lot easier when it is all complete. Plus, you many end up with a few surprises. Anyone here play SimCity and notice the changes when the infostructure and aura are changed?

I guess this is an opportuntiy for a shameless plug. Anyone out there looking to purchase a gallery/frame shop contact VR Business Brokers and Joe Vogelberger 716-839-3180.
One more thought for you construction folks. You might try looking at it as an opportunity to develop a marketing plan or increase marketing skills. Or change or implement something that you have not had time to do.

We use our slow times to frame inventoried artworks. Plus I have bought a lot of stamps last year.

Since my last weekly update was over three weeks ago, I thought I'd better report in.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, there's not much to report. Regulars continue to come in for framing. Now that the weather is nice (85 today,) people are out walking the avenue, so I've even seen a few new faces.

I haven't been advertising agressively, since business is at just about normal levels anyway. In fact, I'm wondering if I'm going to get all the little (and big) projects done that I'd planned on. Maybe if I get off The Grumble for a few hours . . .

Yesterday, this incredible machine came by and crapped out several hundred yards of absolutely perfect curbing - no forms or tools in sight. (Sorry to be crude, but that's exactly what it looked like.) The most amazing thing was the number of people who would step over the barriers, step into the fresh concrete and sink up to their ankles instead of going 1/2 block to cross at an intersection. The next time I'd look outside, the concrete would be fixed. I'd have a sniper with a paintball gun on the roof plugging people who are too stupid and lazy to avoid wet concrete. Good thing I'm not in charge.
Le, What part of Denver are you in? I agree with you on this T-rex thing. My problem is I can't get to work easily. I need to take I-25 to 225 and then to Parker, all now under major construction. Now I take Arapahoe to Parker but I noticed they just put signs up saying "Alternate routes advised". I guess I'll have to take an airlift in. Even though I'm not in the middle of the construction it has very far reaching effects. You are the first Grumbler I've seen in the Denver area. Good luck.
Out on a Whim custom Framing
Well 3 weeks and they say constuction to put in turn lanes will start on the intersection to the west of us and the intersection to the east of us. That will last through October (ya right). That cuts us off from all our customers, the orange barrel blockade. The good news They SAY is they Are not going to tear up the road right in front of us. They are going to wait untill 2003 to do that. Boy was I happy about that :mad: .
Well we have been stock piling promo's and built up our mailing list and have made contacts with some radio media. Worked on press releases one to be released every week. Set goals to maintain our 27% sales increase for the year. We are getting mad, we are getting mean we will defeat the orange barrel brigade. We will sell until the last barrel standing is gone. WE ARE BIG! WE ARE MEAN! WE ARE GREEN!

Semper Fi!!!!!
Well Now that I got some of the blood running to my brain. How are you doing Ron and the rest of our construction plagued friends in other parts of the world? Anyone have a promo that they feel work exceptionally well? Other than a Take one get one free.
You could join FramerSelect they have postcard special on now that lets people know you are associated with FramerSelect.


Larson Juhl has postcards that are reprints of their magazine ads.

What ever you do. Send something, anything, keep in touch. When all is said and done and the road is complete it will come back to you ten fold.

We're hangin' in there. Thanks for asking.

I'm running a low-key promotion. People bring in stuff to be framed. Sometimes they call ahead of time to find out where to park and how to get there. Then I frame their stuff and call 'em when it's done. If they want me to deliver it, I do - either on Monday or after 5 pm. Oh, and everybody gets a flat 10% discount.

Any special advertising we're doing is centered around letting people know how to navigate the construction and where to park. Most of this is cooperative stuff with other businesses in our immediate area.

Here are a couple of special construction websites you may want to peek at. I'd have to credit Appleton Downtown, Inc - a non-profit business support group - with making this process as painless as possible.

ADI Construction site

College Ave construction info
Oh, now this is bad!!

Sometime between 5:30 p.m. yesterday and 8:30 a.m. today, somebody stole our sidewalk. I haven't reported it to the police. I'm sure thay've already heard about it. There's gravel and you can walk on it. But if we get some rain (this is Wisconsin and it's April) I'm going to keep my door locked and hide.

Wait a sec. I hear new noises outside. Be right back.

Nothing to be alarmed about. Some huge machine scraping up gravel on the street at one end and spitting it back out the other end. I'm sure there's a good reason to be doing this.

More later . . .
Have they started your construction yet? Have you planned any extra advertising?
Ron I hope they stopped at the door with the equipment and have by now replaced it with concrete.
We have a new street and a new sidewalk in front of us. It will be a while before the street is open to traffic, but it looks terrific so far.

Maybe this is an exceptional situation, but Appleton decided that, as long as the street had to be ripped up, why not make it nicer? The construction started on our block first, so we're the first to see the finished product.

I went out and talked to some of the concrete workers yesterday. I told them I thought they were real artists and that we had the best-looking sidewalk I'd ever seen. After waiting to make sure I was serious, they seemed pleased. Framers aren't the only ones that take pride in their work.

Previously, I was mostly just anxious to get this done and have the street reopened. Now I'm pretty excited to see what it's all going to look like and I feel an obligation to make sure my shop looks as good as the new street.
This is an update Here it is 8-13-2003 and the construction has not started yet. That is at least in front of my store. A year after it was suppose to start they broke the project up into three parts. Instaed of a 9 moonth prject they have turned it in to three year project. They started the project to the .2 of a mile east of us this spring it is still on going. In June they started part of the project to the one hundred yards west of us, it only took two months. In July they started the other part of the project .3 mile to the west of us completly closing the road which cuts us off from half of our customer base. This project they say should only take until summer 2004. The project .2 mile to the east of us only until Sept 2003.
But the main project right in front of our store will start Spring 2005. I think I am going to start selling orange barrels. We ahd a great first quarter a spotty second Quarter and the Third Quarter has started out strong. We are not knocking on wood we have been pounding on it!
We have boosted or advertising up. and it seems to be paying off.
Hey Can you believe I started this thread in 2-2002?
Well guess what!~ They are finally moving the telephone poles back. They took 15' off my frontage which only leaves me 15 feet from the road now. They are putting a fifth lane in. They said the project will be done by Oct. (of course look at when they said it was going to start LOL)
Our sign will be taken down so we have to put up a temporary sign of some kind. Dust, orange barrels, piles of dirt in front of store. They are replacing the waterlines and also the gas lines.
Any good suggestions now would be welcome!~ Promos, Ad campaigns, etc. Radio, TV, Cable, Newspaper, Mailers,
Please don't say take a 6 month vacation!~ LOL
Originally posted by GUMBY, GCF:
Please don't say take a 6 month vacation!~ LOL
Based on the schedule thus far, I'd recommend the twelve step vacation.
Thanks for the encouragement, Dave!~ But would that be retail months or government months?
Well up date time!~

It is now August!~ I am still under construction never would have guessed right?~

Well they still have a week or two of moving the utilities!~ Orange barrels have been out since beginning of June!~
Talking to the site inspector from the county, He said they will at the best only have the rough coat of asphalt down by Oct. Then he says they will shut the job down until spring. Orange barrels all winter!~
It takes about an average of 30-40 min. to drive three blocks between the hours of 7:00 am to 7:30 pm. after that then traffic is not bad actually about normal traffic movement. Weekends Sat traffic only slows occassionally!~ Sundays very light to almost no traffic!~
I talked to the Burger King across the street their sales are down by 60%. Their parking lot only has about two - three cars at lunch and the drive thru only backs up maybe 2-3 cars at the most:-( Needless to say they are not happy at all!~

Since it has started my traffic is only down about 40% But strangely enough our sales are only down 8% We had a very good month in July Sales wise sales wise that is. I hope this trend continues!~
Construction zone!~

Well, they are progressing!~ As a matter of fact they are progressing so well They have now closed (completely) the main artery to the south of us and have forced about 15,000 cars a day off of that road!~ that was 4 weeks ago traffic was worse than ever but now 4 weeks later it has gotten a little better. Then about 2 weeks ago They closed the South bound off ramp of I77 to the north of us!~ Guess where they made them detour to!~ Yep more traffic!~ By the way that was the off ramp to the Akron Canton airport!~ That only lasted about a week and it was grid lock!~ Only moving 3 cars a light change.
It is better now 6-8 cars a light change!~ So traffic is moving fair for a construction zone.

Now has business been I have set several records lately. I set a store record for not having one cash sale the whole day that has never happened until now!~ We had only credit card or check!~ Next we set a new record for the least number of customers in one day TWO!~ We also set a new store record for the highest average ticket in one day (same day as fewest customers) Our record is now $4515.37 per customer!~ Not many customers but they were golden ringers!~

Our customer count average for Aug so far is down now only 37% our sales are up 4.93%!~

They have the 4 lanes down to 3 lanes and have gotten to the point now where they have put in the leveling lines to pour the curbs!~ That should happen next week!~ If the rain holds off!~ Then they will let them cure for a week then back fill then come in and pour the sidewalk then let that cure then put down a base coat of asphalt!~ maybe that will take less than 4 weeks and they might even put down the top coat Finished!~
OUCH I just pinched myself!~ NO they will not get it done I just Know it!~ The orange barrels will be here all winter I just Know it!~ I hope The extra marketing efforts are adding up!~ When this is all done if our bottom line does not get to hurt I think I might write a book "How My business survived X months of ROAD CONSTRUCTION"

Anyone else having the Orange barrel Plague this summer?