Major road construction can wreck havoc on businesses as lane closures and temporary driveways make it difficult for shoppers to even get in the parking lot. After a while, people might avoid an area altogether.
It’s a phenomenon that Gene Champagne, marketing director for Jersey Mike’s, has seen play out in many cities. The widening of Colleyville Boulevard has no doubt affected businesses along the city’s major arterial street, including Jersey Mike’s, but the city has taken steps to incentivize residents to stay local while also benefiting the Grapevine-Colleyville school district.
The Colleyville Receipt Race program is in full gear with parents from all Grapevine-Colleyville schools encouraged to shop at participating Colleyville businesses along the construction corridor. The school that collects the most receipts will receive cash prizes for the PTA. The first-place PTA gets $5,000, second place gets $3,000 and third place gets $1,000.
“We want to encourage shoppers in Colleyville and be a catalyst for the businesses in Colleyville, especially along 26 where they’re affected by construction,” said Mark Wood, assistant city manager.
This comes on the heels of a first-quarter program in which the city offered $1,000 grants to help affected businesses. The only criteria were that the ad had to be near the construction zone and generate sales tax revenue.
Champagne has participated in both programs and has seen immediate results.
“It’s benefited us because it’s bringing in people who maybe wouldn’t have normally come in because they want to collect that receipt,” Champagne said. “People are having trouble getting to the businesses because of all the construction. But the city has done a great job with the information campaign. They seem to be very concerned about our businesses and helping us stay afloat during the construction.”
It’s a model more cities should follow when there’s months or even years of ongoing road construction, he said.
“You don’t see that in some of the other bigger cities that I market for,” Champagne said. “You would never see them hand out $1,000 checks because they’re working on the road in front of the store.”
The Colleyville Receipt Race will be based on the number of receipts turned in, not the dollar amount spent. Receipts can be turned in to any Grapevine-Colleyville school, not just the ones in Colleyville.
Stephanie Turner, president of the Grapevine-Colleyville Council of PTAs, said the program has generated excitement among the 18 PTAs in the district.
“The prize money from what we’ve discussed already could be used for a particular event or some kind of improvement to the campus,” Turner said. “It’s been very competitive. We’ve had some schools put collection baskets at the restaurants to make it easier to submit receipts.”
Schools are organizing spirit nights where the whole school is encouraged to shop at a business. Others are driving out of their way to fill up on gas or visit a store.
“People are discovering some restaurants they didn’t know were there and increasing their business, which is wonderful,” Turner said.
Morgan Fenton, co-owner of Modish Boutique in Colleyville, said the receipt race has brought more awareness to the construction and brings more people in.
“I’ve definitely noticed people talking about it," Fenton said. "They love that they can help their children’s school while they’re shopping for us as well.”
There’s a Facebook group of Colleyville moms with 5,000 members that’s raising awareness of the program, too.
“They’re always posting about the programs and encouraging other local moms to go out and save the receipts and shop local,” Fenton said.
The store, which opened a year and a half ago, is just on the edge of the construction but is still affected.
“People are avoiding the road in general so even though the construction wasn’t terrible in front of us, it affects people coming this way from other sides of Colleyville,” Fenton said. “We’re hoping [Colleyville Boulevard] will be really, really great once it’s done.”
Details on the construction
The $38.2 million Colleyville Boulevard widening project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019. The finished roadway will have six lanes with a center median.
As the project has dragged on, the city has heard concerns from businesses, which prompted the city to partner with the school district.
“The businesses have felt the impact of the construction,” Wood said. “We’re doing everything we can do from the city’s perspective to assist the businesses.”
For up-to-date information on Colleyville Boulevard, including lane closures and detours, visit the city’s website, www.colleyville.com/txdot-sh26-project.html.