The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) is hoping to boost sales for small businesses affected by rail project construction.
HART is teaming up with the Hawaii Small Business Development Center to encourage consumers to “shop small” for the holidays.
This announcement comes as Small Business Saturday, Nov 26, approaches, which is the day after Black Friday. HART wants local businesses along its 20-mile stretch of construction to reap the benefits
The push for increased small business was shown in an ad in the Sunday, Oct. 6, edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertise newspaper. It called for small businesses from Waipahu and Pearl City to Kalihi and Ala Moana to participate in Small Business Saturday.
The goal is to get shoppers to buy local and support businesses in the community.
HART is hoping some free promotion will go a long way for some businesses that don’t normally have their own marketing budget.
In an email, HART told KHON2 they’ll provide them with branded Small Business Saturday window and counter displays. HART will also promote their offers via social media and on a website.
KHON2 spoke with businesses who’ve been impacted by the rail and they told us they’ll take any help they can get.
Management at the Dixie Grill restaurant in Aiea says they’ve seen a 30 percent decrease in business since construction began.
“We used to have happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and we’ve extended it now from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. because customers were waiting in traffic and couldn’t get here,” said bar manager Megan Hansen. “We’re lucky that we have such a good following that we’re not in survival mode but definitely a decline.”
It’s a similar story for Runners Hi owner Raymond Woo.
“Probably in the last six months our sales have dropped approximately 50 to 60 percent,” explained Woo. “At any given time, the construction it can go from two lanes to one lane to a total stop depending on whats going on with the construction.”
HART says it’s important to do whatever it can to help small businesses during rail construction.
“Most of us on this street here, a lot of us are brick and mortar stores and so this is our life,” said Woo.
Dixie Grill’s Hansen adds, “I think any effort in trying is always helpful but the main thing is we’re looking forward to them moving past us.”
Local businesses interested in participating can contact HART by calling 808-566-2299 or email them at info@HonoluluTransit.org.