MERIDIAN -- Four months of major road construction and detours is a long time for any business to endure. However, that is not even the half-way mark for some stores located on North Meridian Road.
The Meridian Split Corridor Project is expected to be complete sometime in mid-October. At least three local businesses say they're already struggling from the lack of access.
A 'PRETTY BIG DROP'
"Pre-construction was great," said Kevin Butler of NAPA Auto Parts. "But ever since they've started the construction, you know it's pretty obvious. It's been a pretty big drop (in business)."
Butler says the NAPA Auto Parts on North Meridian Road has already cut back some employee hours.
Shane Crane, store manager at the Bruneel Tire Factory on North Meridian Road, says his store has cut one and a half positions.
"It's actually affected our business quite a bit," said Crane. "The good customers that we've taken care of over the years, they're finding a way to get here, but drop-in business is really down."
Lance Palmer, owner of Bobby's Transmission on North Meridian Road, says he's worried about how construction will impact them this summer, typically their busiest time.
"We had more people driving in and out and stopping and asking questions about transmissions before construction," said Palmer. "But not a lot of new people are coming in now."
CITY TO SPONSOR 'CASH MOB'
The city of Meridian and the Chamber of Commerce are teaming up to help businesses impacted by the construction. Every month until the Meridian Split Corridor Project is complete, the city and chamber will select a group of businesses to cash mob.
"A cash mob is when a group of people get together to support, small local businesses by spending money on a specific day," said Natalie Podgorski, Communications Manager for the city of Meridian.
Bruneel Tire Factory, NAPA Auto Parts and Bobby's Transmission on North Meridian Road have been chosen for this month's cash mob, which will be held Tuesday, March 12.
"Obviously anything they're doing to help we think is fabulous and we appreciate it," said Palmer.
As part of the cash mob on Tuesday, Bobby's Transmission is offering $20 off a transmission service. Bruneel Tire Factory will have half-price alignments, free tire rotations and oil changes for $19.95. In addition, when customers buy wiper blades at NAPA Auto Parts, they will get them installed free, along with a free gallon of washer fluid.
The three local stores hope the cash mob will create just the business they need to get over the construction hump.
"We just want folks to know we're here, we're still open. Hopefully that'll draw some attention to us," said Butler.
MORE CONSTRUCTION EXPECTED
Ada County Highway District says the Meridian Split Corridor Project will include a new crossover roadway connecting Main Street to Meridian Road, north of Franklin Road and south of the railroad crossing. Meridian Road will be widened to five lanes from the crossover roadway north to the Meridian/Cherry-Fairview intersection. Main/Fairview and Meridian/Cherry intersections will also be rebuilt. The $8 million project is expected to be complete by mid-October 2013.