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A look at how businesses along the Phoenix light rail are doing

The light rail is definitely a win-win situation, not only for the businesses but consumers.

By Brandy Aguilar

published by on June 18, 2010

PHOENIX - When the Metro light rail was under construction a lot of stores and restaurants along the central corridor paid the price.

For many, there was a drop in business. Now with the work completed, 3TV takes a look at how things are going now.

"When we found this location with the light rail, with that urban vibe, with that level of diversity that you have down here, along the central corridor, it was a home run," Dana Mule said.

Mule is the managing partner of Hula's Modern Tiki near Central and Camelback. The restaurant opened in September several months after the light rail took to the streets.

"We've been very blessed," Mule said. "In this economy anyone that's still open after a year is really lucky."

Not every business came after the light rail was finished. Alphagraphics has been around for years and Hinkley's Lighting is practically a Phoenix landmark. Surviving the construction period meant the operators of both businesses had to get creative.

"It was a matter of stepping up our delivery services, pick-up services, making sure we had enough employees staffed to compensate for it," Alphagraphics owner Tom Lanser said.

"It made me open a Scottsdale showroom, open a factory, go after hotel businesses, go after things I never did before," Hinkley's Lighting president Michael Jackson said.

Now with construction long gone and the light rail in service for more than year, Lanser said, like the train's themselves, the payoff has arrived.

"I would anticipate a lot of the entertainment and restaurant owners especially have seen significant improvement in their business," Lanser continued. "I think our exposure has got better. Everybody who rides the rail sees the store."

Kimber Lanning, with Local First Arizona said the light rail is definitely a win-win situation, not only for the businesses but consumers.

"Recognize that in building civic pride, it's about exploring and trying new places," Lanning said. "And I think the light rail lends itself to that it's a fun outing."

Lanning said that besides having fun, if consumers buy from local shops on the light rail route that money is staying here in the community. "Those dollars create tax revenues over and over again and they go to pay for things like parks, libraries and fire departments," Lanning said.

Jackson agrees that buying local is key. "Get the people in town to buy local, buy local and support the businesses that are here before you buy it on the internet," Jackson continued.

So whatever you are using the light rail for, those along the way are waiting for you and your business.