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FARMINGTON — The upcoming Complete Streets project aimed at revitalizing downtown will create challenges for business during construction by limiting access to storefronts.

Construction will likely begin next year, and a coalition of business support resource partners such as WESST and San Juan College is working to help businesses remain successful even during the construction.

The coalition, known as the Farmington Downtown Business Resiliency Project, is supported by the Farmington Metropolitan Redevelopment Area Commission.

The business resiliency project will host a series of trainings this fall.

While the project began with the intention of helping downtown businesses, co-manager Chris Hunter said the trainings are open to business owners throughout San Juan County and the topics discussed will be relevant to businesses even outside of the downtown.

The first training, Building the Fall 2018 Marketing Plan, will be from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 17, at Downtown HQ, 119 W. Main St. in Farmington.

The trainings were developed following a survey distributed to the downtown business owners. Hunter said the survey included 120 questions in four categories including marketing, operations, staffing and finance.

Hunter said the responses from the survey showed that 38 percent of the sales in downtown Farmington occur in December. The fall marketing plan is aimed at helping businesses build momentum going into the holiday season.

There will be a total of 10 trainings this fall. The trainings are intended to build on each other, but can also be attended singularly.

The first training will be free, however registration is required. People can register online at fbdrone.eventbrite.com. More information about the project can be found at fdbrp.org.

“You are not alone in the journey of becoming a more resilient business,” Hunter said.

Other topics in the training series include social media for small businesses, Microsoft publisher basics, email marketing basics, market research, digital marketing for business, customer service, finance and cash flow management, advertising basics and point of sales systems.

Hunter said the downtown resiliency project is partnering with Wells Fargo and Vectra banks for the finance and cash flow management training.

He said understanding cash flow and expenses is vital for small business resiliency. He said the majority of business owners that responded to the survey did not know their daily breakeven point for sales.

One thing the downtown resiliency project hopes to help businesses with is creating attractive backdoor access for customers. Hunter said the construction will limit customers’ access to the front doors of downtown businesses.

Morey Havens, the owner of Boon’s Family Thai in downtown Farmington, emphasized the importance of backdoor access.

His restaurant was located in downtown Aztec about a dozen years ago when Aztec undertook a project to redo its downtown. Havens said the restaurant did not have backdoor access. The business saw a nearly 50 percent drop in revenue, and Havens said it took more than two years to rebuild the revenue to pre-construction levels.

Audra Winters, president of Farmington Chamber of Commerce, praised the business resiliency project. She said the chamber hopes to serve as the middle person and send out information about it in the chamber newsletter.

“I think this is so forward thinking,” she said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

 

 

 

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