While construction along the Crenshaw corridor has created challenging circumstances for some small business owners, many also are taking advantage of the opportunities the new Crenshaw-to-LAX rail line will bring. More than 40 businesses currently impacted by the construction learned this week how to tap into novel programs that will support and promote them during this challenging time.
“Since construction began on the Crenshaw/LAX Line, local businesses and patrons have been asked to endure a lot,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who advocated for the programs and coordinated the gathering, said to the group assembled at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall Community Room. “These programs will be critical elements to help businesses thrive. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you to make sure that the Crenshaw Line construction moves forward safely and in a productive manner that puts community first.”
The programs include the Eat Shop Play Crenshaw marketing and publicity campaign, which encourages community members to “pledge” to eat, shop and play locally and provides routine raffles for people who can demonstrate they have done so on the corridor. Metro will also use social media to encourage people to tell their stories about the Corridor.
Another new program is the Business Solutions Center, which is slated to open December 19, and which will be a dedicated office where business owners can receive advice, technical assistance, case management and resource referral services to address their needs.
One of the key objectives of the Business Solutions Center will be to help businesses apply for the grants that will be made available through an innovative new program, the Business Interruption Fund. In October, the Metro Board unanimously agreed to establish a $10 million annual fund for businesses impacted by construction of the various lines under construction.
“It is an extreme priority to make sure these small businesses can make it through the construction process,” said Mark Robertson, Jr., chief executive of Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation, which is helping businesses access the fund. “Everybody understands that the construction of this rail line ultimately means success for the businesses adjacent to them. The challenge is getting to the point where the line is complete and the businesses can reap the benefits.”