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Small Businesses Along Rapid Transit Route Increasing Visibility With Marketing Support

Consultants work with Central Ave, establishments to help them retain customers and grow

April 14, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE – Small, local businesses are taking advantage of a program designed to prepare them in anticipation of Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction. Businesses along Central Avenue that want to increase their customer outreach and either did not have websites or logos or that wanted to update or strengthen their brands are being given a unique opportunity to increase their visibility at no cost – and many are already benefitting.

Since mid-February, consultants from the Small Business Resource Collaborative (SBRC) have met one-on-one with 143 businesses to find out what they need to be able to thrive while the ART project is underway. The Collaborative has been engaged in some form of contact with a total of 326 businesses in the last two months.

To date, about a dozen businesses have requested and are receiving customized marketing assistance in the form of logos, social media strategy, basic websites, business cards and brochures. Seven of 11 that requested help with a logo have already received new or updated designs, created with input from the businesses; 10 businesses that do not have websites will soon have an Internet presence for the first time.

In addition, three businesses have requested other marketing collateral, 27 would like a custom marketing strategy, and 10 would like a social media campaign strategy to prepare them before construction begins in July.

“We are not taking a position on the ART project itself. We are simply pro small business,” said Vanessa Roanhorse, project consultant. “The majority of businesses have been very receptive and are interested in learning more about what kind of technical and tailored services can be provided.

“We are providing opportunities to help them retain their customer base, build their customer base and come up with innovative marketing strategies to get their business name out there, with the goal of their business growing both before and during construction.”

Businesses that are updating their marketing materials through the SBRC include Pet Grooming Salon, Furniture For You, Auto Tech, Los Compadres Mexican Restaurant and Americana Motel.

The SBRC will conduct personal meetings with another 230 businesses in coming months. Focus of the assistance is on independently owned business that rely on walk-in customers.

The marketing services are part of a broader net of support that also includes tailored financial and strategic planning assistance for businesses that choose to take advantage of the offerings that best fit their needs.

“This is the opportunity for these businesses to really lead the way in defining how Central Avenue moves into its next phase and how businesses along Central can work together with the great community resources that are here to support them,” Roanhorse said.

The SBRC is led by local expert small business nonprofits and consultants convened by the City of Albuquerque in anticipation of Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction causing temporary disruption to some businesses along Central Avenue. The collaborative and its outreach is modeled after a nationally recognized program conducted by the Neighborhood Development Center in Minneapolis-St. Paul.