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MainStreet Business Assistance Program

MainStreet's mission is to help main street businesses struggle less and prosper more during transportation projects by providing information, facilitating communication, offering business resources and direct consulting services.

MainStreet is a small business assistance program funded by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). Funding for the program was approved as part of the RTA plan on May 16, 2006. The $2.1 billion, 20-year RTA plan included $10 million for small business assistance to help businesses affected by the transportation improvement projects in the RTA plan.

Businesses along RTA roadway and improvement projects are eligible to receive third-party consulting to assist the businesses prior to construction and during construction, and put the business in the position to be more successful post construction.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is eligible to receive these services?
  2. What if I am in a non RTA transportation project?
  3. How much will these services cost me?
  4. How might a transportation improvement project affect my business?
  5. What do businesses often need during a transportation improvement project?
  6. Communities have recognized that small businesses are at risk from difficulties that arise during transportation improvement project construction. As a consequence, construction mitigation/business assistance programs have been developed. Some of their key benefits include:
  7. How will I know if I need or can benefit from business assistance?
  8. What makes for successful construction mitigation?
  9. What services does MainStreet provide?
  10. What services are NOT provided?
  11. Who are typical participants?
  12. Who are the MainStreet consultants?
  13. What is involved in the consulting process?
  14. During the consulting process how much time can the consultant spend working with me?
  15. What are some examples of consulting deliverables that MainStreet has provided?
  16. Will sensitive business information remain confidential?
  17. What if we are required to relocate because of the project?
  18. What results can be expected?
  19. Why do you want my e-mail?
  20. How do I know that MainStreet is accountable and that my tax dollars are going to good use in this program?
  21. How engaged has the MainStreet Business Assistance Program been with the business community?
  22. What can I do next?

 

1. Who is eligible to receive these services?
All businesses located within a quarter mile of the construction zone on RTA-funded transportation projects are eligible. Businesses outside this zone may contact us for special consideration of services if they believe they will be impacted.

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 2. What if I am in a non RTA transportation project?
You may be eligible for services for projects that are not designated in the RTA Mobility Plan fo May 16, 2006, if a funding source can be identified.

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 3. How much will these services cost me?
Services are free to all businesses within a quarter mile of the designated project area.

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 4. How might a transportation improvement project affect my business?
Not all businesses are impacted equally, or negatively. There are many variables and factors that determine the impact on a business. The most notable impact is the potential loss of significant revenue which can jeopardize a company's cash flow, operation and functionality, quickly  putting them out of business. Nationally, losses of revenue due to transportation construction projects can run up to 50%, with typical averages in the 20%-25% range.

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5. What do businesses often need during a transportation improvement project?
Typical needs may include the following and may require some form of action by the MainStreet business assistance consulting team.

  • Information
  • Design Considerations
  • Issue Resolution
  • Preparedness
  • Planning and Training    
  • Follow-up
  • Signage
  • Access and Parking
  • Business Specific Needs
  • Timing
  • Communication
  • Promotions  
  • Community Resources
  • Maintaining Revenues
  • Growth Opportunities
  • Direct Business Consulting
  • Empathy

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6. Communities have recognized that small businesses are at risk from difficulties that arise during transportation improvement project construction. As a consequence, construction mitigation/business assistance projgrams have been developed. Some of their key benefits include:
As more and more communities recognized that small businesses were at risk from difficulties that arise during transportation improvement project construction they began developing construction mitigation/business assistance programs. Some of their key benefits include:

  • Aids in successfully getting a business through the challenges of a transportation improvement project
  • Preempts potential problems, misinformation and controversy
  • Provides consistent tools, practices and relationships
  • Provides enhanced engagement and feedback through planning, design and construction
  • Grows strong positive government/private sector relationships based upon trust, respect, availability, tangible solutions and results
  • Provides something “good” in a difficult situation
  • Identifies opportunities for growth and partnerships
  • Saves businesses and jobs
  • Creates short and long term economic dividends
  • Yields better business corridors and projects

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7. How will I know if I need or can benefit from business assistance?
Call our MainStreet hotline at (520) 838-4352 or discuss directly with your MainStreet liaisons/ombudsman when they visit. Our team has over 50 years of direct experience on what to expect during transportation improvement projects; how it could affect you and, more importantly, how we can help you get through it.

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 8. What makes for successful construction mitigation?
MainStreet has determined that businesses can be successful during transportation construction projects by following two proven steps that are validated by national studies and direct experience. The steps are:

  • Effectively and consistently communicate to the businesses both before and during the project.
  • Help businesses directly plan for and act on elements that may negatively impact them during the project.

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9. What services does MainStreet provide?
MainStreet  consultants have created over 600 unique and customized consulting deliverables for their clients to help minimize transportation improvement project impacts on their businesses, and to improve the overall health of their businesses. To explore in detail the program and all of their free services available please click here

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10. What services are NOT provided?
The MainStreet program is unable to provide services in the following areas:

  • Direct Financial Compensation - Not allowed under the Arizona State Gift clause.
  • Tax Deferment or Exemptions - All taxes including property, sales, income, and state taxes must continue to be paid. If you own your property, we encourage you to apply for a Pima County property tax assessment reduction with the Pima County Assessor during construction.
  • Property Appraisal, Acquisition or Relocation - These services are provided under the jurisdiction’s real estate right-of-way programs and departments. 
  • Legal Services - Not provided under the MainStreet program.
  • Direct Costs of Advertising - Over 100 marketing and promotional consulting services are available, but the actual cost of individualized advertising is not permitted.

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11. Who are typical participants?
Participants of the MainStreet program typically are small business owners and managers, commercial property owners, property management companies, non-profit entities and business associations. The anticipated number of business clients that will be engaged by the MainStreet team over the 20-year RTA plan will be over 10,000. MainStreet has touched over 6,000 businesses, representing over 72, 000 employees, in the first nine years of the RTA plan.

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12. Who are the MainStreet consultants?
The MainStreet consulting team is assembled from a pool of qualified independent contracted small business consultants with a combined 50 years of construction mitigation experience and over 200 years of business consulting. Each consulting team is put together specifically for each business client based upon the client’s specific needs and requirements. MainStreet’s consultants provide services in most business disciplines and pride themselves on the diversity of consulting deliverables and work products created for its business clients. MainStreet promotes and fosters a collaborative, communication-focused, results-oriented consulting environment, whose primary focus is always on delivering the best services to the businesses.

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 13. What is involved in the consulting process?
An independent, private sector contracted consultant will meet with you to discuss your anticipated business needs. For many businesses, this may be as simple as receiving timely project updates, traffic control plans and other communications. For others, this may include detailed construction readiness plans tailored to specific needs. Some businesses also may want a complete “health check” business assessment of their operations, resulting in recommendations and additional free consulting services and deliverables. Finally, the participating business will be asked to give autonomous feedback about the services provided and about the program overall.

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14. During the consulting process how much time can the consultant spend working with me?
Every business and project is unique. Many factors go into determining exactly how a business may most benefit from our program, and the amount of consulting time a business may require. Typically, individual business consulting hours fall between 30 and 70 hours, with the majority receiving 40-50 hours. Mainstreet developed a proprietary software program which objectively determines consulting hour allocation by analyzes 18 different criteria. These criteria include:

  • Potential construction impacts - related to the project’s size, scope, schedule, duration, nature of closure, business proximity to planned construction activities
  • Type of business - retail, dining, service, office, manufacturing, trades, non-profit
  • Nature of business - destination, convenience, competitors, substitute products /services
  • Business access - pre, during and post construction
  • Longevity at current location - start-up, established, franchise, multiple locations
  • Acquisition or relocation requirements by the municipality
  • Other factors - company size, sales volume, financial strengths, profitability, growth rate, opportunities, economic conditions
  • Attitude - do they have a positive “can do” attitude? How important are our services to them? Do they want to work with us in finding solutions? Level of commitment, follow through and willingness to implement deliverables.  

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15. What are some examples of consulting deliverables that MainStreet has provided?
Utilizing the results of MainStreet's proprietary Business Health Assessment process, the clients and consultants will determine the one or two most valuable consulting deliverable(s). Every business is unique and requires different things at different points in the life cycle of that business; as a result, the deliverables provided are as varied as the needs. Click here to view some examples of deliverables that we have already provided to clients.

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 16. Will sensitive business information remain confidential?
Yes, only basic contact information is included in our outreach database. Information pertaining to your specific operations will be given at your discretion with confidentially maintained between you and the independent MainStreet consultant.

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 17. What if we are required to relocate because of the project?
We understand that if you are required to relocate as part of a municipality’s project plan this can have additional impacts on your business. MainStreet provides business consulting services both pre and post relocation in these special cases.

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 18. What results can be expected?
In general, the better prepared a business is before heading into an improvement project, the greater the chance for success. MainStreet can provide the tools and services that have historically worked. However, the level of success that a business experiences depends on factors including working with an independent MainStreet consultant, maintaining a “can do” attitude, and being determined to plan and implement a variety of mitigation strategies. In other words, we believe that it is far better to be proactive than to be reactive.

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19. Why do you want my e-mail?
Whether or not you provide your e-mail is optional. However, e-mail has proven to be the quickest, most effective and least costly method to disseminate timely project information. We ask for e-mail addresses because municipalities frequently use e-mail to provide project updates and other types of communication in an attempt to better serve the business community.

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 20. How do I know that MainStreet is accountable and that my tax dollars are going to good use in this program?
MainStreet is a required program element within the Regional Transportation Authority's 20-year plan. MainStreet, RTA and municipalities regularly receive appreciative feedback in the form of letters, cards, notes, phone calls, etc. from businesses who have worked with our team.

To monitor our programs success, we perform continual performance tracking through a direct business (client) feedback process. Currently 43% of businesses who finish our consulting services provide feedback through our anonymous survey.

  • Performance rankings in five categories of service
 81.7%   Excellent
 16.2%   Good
   1.9%   Fair
   0.2%   Poor
 

MainStreet conducts follow-up on site interviews, conducts focus groups, and executes internal systems reviews regularly along with standard RTA audits.

MainStreet also providing regular updates to the following:

  • Public at large
  • Project teams
  • Transportation departments
  • Municipalities and jurisdictional agencies
  • Technical Management Committee (TMC)
  • Pima Association of Governments (PAG)
  • Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Management Team
  • Citizens Accountability for Regional Transportation Committee (CART)
  • RTA Board

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21. How engaged has the MainStreet Business Assistance Program been with the business community?
MainStreet’s program was fully implemented in spring of 2008. 95% of the program time has been spent directly working with businesses. Since that time MainStreet has:

  • Provided services to over 6,000 business on over 50 regional projects to-date.
  • Logged over 32,000 business liaison outreach and construction ombudsmen visits ensuring a consistent face-to-face point of contact for businesses in the ever changing design process and chaos of construction.
  • Facilitated follow-up and resolution on thousands of specific business/project questions and concerns during planning, design and construction phases.
  • Provided confidential consulting services to over 500 companies, producing over 600 unique deliverables to affected businesses at no cost to them.

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22. What can I do next?
To learn more about the program or to begin working with the MainStreet Business Assistance team, please call (520) 838-4352. We are here to help!

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Telephone (520) 792-1093, FAX (520) 620-6981