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Small Business Center to offer tips to Gouverneur businesses on surviving road work

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GOUVERNEUR — The Small Business Development Center at SUNY Canton will present a forum for Gouverneur businesses on how to survive the state Department of Transportation road reconstruction project this summer.

“We’ve had a few businesses reach out to us,” Michelle A. Collins, certified business advisor, said. “They kind of know what’s coming.”

The DOT’s road reconstruction of Route 11 from North Gordon to Railroad streets began last summer with underground replacement of pipes, but that was done in localized phases so businesses were not all affected at the same time. This summer’s work will include repaving the entire stretch.

“I know in front of me it’s going to take quite a long time,” said Donna M. Lawrence, executive director of the Greater Gouverneur Chamber of Commerce and proprietor of Lawrence Manor on East Main Street. “This year, the roads are actually going to be torn up, widened and repaved. There’s going to be a little bit of a headache.”

The workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Gouverneur Elks Lodge, sponsored by the chamber and the Gouverneur Area Development Corp., will include some testimonials from Canton businesses on their experiences with the reconstruction of Route 11 in their village in 2012 and 2013.

“We just want to know how some of the businesses in Canton got through it,” Mrs. Lawrence said.

The focus will be on marketing strategies, to include ways to entice people to their businesses regardless of the construction, Mrs. Collins said.

The discussion will also include budgeting and expenses that could be trimmed if a drop in business is expected. The tips might be useful even after the construction is completed, Mrs. Collins said.

She also advised businesses to talk to the construction crews so they know what is coming when and to pool together to point out resources that may not be apparent.

Last year, construction crews were very accommodating to her business, Mrs. Lawrence said.

Canton businesses took an ad out that was an aerial shot showing where free municipal parking lots were located. Gouverneur also has a nice parking area behind its downtown, Mrs. Collins said.

A number of businesses have back entrances, Mrs. Lawrence said. She urged businesses to think toward the future when the roadwork is over.

“Now that the work is getting done, everything will be so much better,” she said.

Pre-registration, by calling the business center at 386-7312, or emailing sbdc@canton.edu, is appreciated, but all are welcome.

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