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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,” said Michelle A. Collins, a certified business adviser at the center. “They kind of know what’s coming.”

The reconstruction of Route 11 from North Gordon to Railroad streets began last summer with replacement of underground pipes, but that was done in localized phases so businesses were not affected all 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 Area 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 will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Gouverneur Elks Lodge and is sponsored by the chamber and the Gouverneur Area Development Corp. It will include some comments from Canton businesses on their experiences with the Route 11 reconstruction project 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 entice people to the businesses regardless of the construction, Mrs. Collins said.

The discussion also will 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 advises businesses to talk to the construction crews so they know what is coming and when, and to pool together to find resources.

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

Canton businesses put out an ad of an aerial picture showing where free municipal parking lots are located in that village. Mrs. Collins pointed out that Gouverneur also has a nice parking area behind its downtown district.

And a number of businesses have back entrances, Mrs. Lawrence said.

She urged businesses to think toward the future.

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

Preregistration for the forum is appreciated, but all are welcome. Businesses may preregister by calling the business center at 386-7312, or emailing sbdc@canton.edu.

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