Anyone who has been down Mission’s Johnson Drive lately knows it is not quite as convenient for customers to get to every business on the street. And the disruption will continue for several more months as the street, parking and sidewalks are rebuilt from storefront to storefront.
But the city is ramping up with new ideas to help keep customers flowing into those businesses during the painful months of reconstruction. “We are trying to do some creative things (to help the businesses),” said City Administrator Gerry Vernon. “They have had some rough days.” One of the ideas on the table could see the city sending out emails during coming months encouraging recipients to visit a specific business that is among the most affected by construction at that moment.
Vernon said the concept is still in a pilot stage. Emily Randel, the city’s public information officer, is developing the project. “All ideas are welcome,” she said. A first step was to encourage city employees to go to Johnson Drive on breaks or for other business needs. City staff also plan to visit the city’s largest employers to fill them in on the construction project and encourage Johnson Drive patronage.
“We can’t leave anybody out,” Randel said about the email idea. It would require creating a full campaign that included each business and trying to encourage customer visits when they are hit hardest by construction – almost a variation on a flash mob theme. The other question to be resolved is how the email list would be compiled so recipients aren’t annoyed by it, Vernon said.
The city also is trying to direct people to Johnson Drive businesses through social media, Randel said. The businesses themselves are trying to keep customers informed of parking changes as the work progresses. While all businesses are open, parking on the south side of the street along the east edge of the project is disrupted this week.
The new initiatives follow on the heels of a marketing and branding campaign led by Springboard Creative, one of the Johnson Drive businesses. Of the new attempts to help out local business, Randel welcomes any suggestion. “We are taking all ideas.”