VICTORIA, Minn. - A west metro road construction project, planned for this summer, is a cause for concern for a group of business owners.
So they've come up with a plan full of incentives to bring people into town.
Instead of just sitting idly by, businesses like Fresh Season's Market in Victoria are gearing up for a road construction season like none other.
Owner Dale Riley said, "We're really proud to be part of the downtown and it's a vibrant downtown and we want to keep it that way during the road improvements."
This summer between the fourth of July and Labor Day, MN DOT will shut down Highway 5 in Victoria on both sides of town.
It will reconstruct this bridge on one end, and on the other end of town MN Dot will repair what locals call the sinkhole. It's a portion of Highway 5 built next to a wetland that continually has to be filled in.
While semis will be detoured on major state roads like Highway 41 and Highway 7, there will still be an easy local detour that will get other vehicles downtown.
So in order to keep moving apples, lettuce and even bloody Mary's at the popular Floyd's Bar, the Victoria Business Owners Association has launched the Think Victoria-Victoria Detour campaign with t-shirts showing people that simple detour along Steiger Lake Lane. The city has put up a billboard just outside town showing that detour as well.
Floyd's Owner, Lois Plocher, said, "They should take the detour to come to Floyd's because they're going to have the best music, better than past years. They're going to have the best food, better than past years. We're just going to up everything a notch or two for the summer."
She said, "We will have detour specials."
To keep their businesses thriving, Think Victoria will also hold frequent special events downtown for families and ask residents to put a Think Victoria sign in their yard to be entered in a weekly drawing.
Michelle Aspelin of Mindshare Marketing and Implementation Services, the business owner leading the initiative, said residents will also be asked to sign a pledge, "Things like, 'I will increase my purchases at the local establishments. I will buy a $25 gift card per month at a local establishment.'"
A new points system will also give locals a discount at Fresh Season's Market and Floyd's.
Think Victoria plans to also hold regular car washes, to benefit local youth groups and to get the road construction dust off of visitors' cars.
Aspelin said the road construction is necessary and will ultimately benefit businesses.
There aren't a lot of businesses in downtown Victoria. This hope is the Think Victoria-Victoria Detour effort will keep them vital.
Find details on the special summer events, incentive programs and construction progress at the Think Victoria link above.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)