Incentive program helps businesses affected by 183 South construction

183 South Construction project incentivizes workers to buy at businesses along the project to offset possible loss of sales. (Photo: Regional Mobility Authority)

Construction on 183 South has ramped up in the past few months, and now planners are using a program to help businesses affected by the work.

The Regional Mobility Authority started the Good Neighbor to Business Incentive Program in May. The program incentivizes workers to buy at businesses throughout the project.

If workers purchase items from participating stores and bring back the receipt to their contractor, then they could win one of four $50 gift cards a month. The contractor also buys the gift cards from the businesses.

RMA spokesperson Steve Pustelnyk said the goal is to offset any loss of sales for businesses near construction and closures.

”It is affecting their business to some extent and so we wanted to show them that we’re aware of those impacts and that we’re trying to do what we can to help out,” Pustelnyk said.

Around 25 stores are involved in the program off Manor Road, MLK Blvd. and other streets along the project. Workers know a store is in the program if it has a sticker near the front door.

“A lot of the workers do eat lunch on the job,” Pustelnyk said.

Since May workers have turned in more than $4,800 in receipts. Those are from stores like HEB, Exxon convenience stores, Subway and local stores like Callahan’s General Store.

“I think it’s a really good idea,” Callahan’s General Store CEO Charley Wilson said.

He said they prepared for some disruption from construction.

“We were aware that it was coming,” Wilson said.

So adding construction workers is just an added benefit. Not all businesses are benefitting, though. Food trucks listed in the program haven’t had any listed sales from workers. It’s also unclear if sales from workers do offset any losses that construction has caused.

However, Wilson said even with possible losses now, it’ll be better in the future.

“We realize that there’s going to be some disruption and an inconvenience more than anything else but at the end of it all, this is going to be a really, really good area for people to do business,” Wilson said.

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