By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
For the Bulletin
The oranges are stacked neatly, customers are greeted with a friendly “hello!” when they walk in, and Yelp lists Save Mart in the Top 10 best grocery stores in Las Cruces. In an impersonal world, Save Mart on North Valley Drive strives to be the place where you can not only pick up fresh produce and some of the finest cuts of meat, but also get a genuine request to know how you are today.
Jerry Silva and his family have owned Save Mart for nearly four decades and work alongside dedicated employees who have been on the job 30 years. Today, their challenge is giving customers special incentives to work around the Valley Drive road reconstruction and come in to shop.
So, Save Mart has bumped up its social media exposure, created incentives for customers like the Supermarket Sweep and the Gift Basket Give Away – just spend $25 or more, enter your receipt and possible win a basket of goodies and a $40 Save Mart gift card.
The grocery also participates with “Construction Compadres” – a campaign launched by the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce and the Las Cruces Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to support local businesses impacted by road reconstruction. More information is available at locallascruces.com/compadres.
Silva acknowledges the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) road reconstruction on Valley Drive has been difficult for businesses, but says, “We want to thank our customers for their loyal support; it has really helped us to weather the storm.”
“Save Mart has been a local mainstay of Valley Drive for many years and is a perfect example of a business that gives back to the community,” notes Carrie Hamblen, CEO/President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce. “This grocery provides great meat and produce to customers, as well as long-term employment opportunities and is one of many Las Cruces businesses that deserve our support and shopping. The road reconstruction is really temporary … but the impact and value of our local businesses is for the long-term benefit of our community.”
The City of Las Cruces is working to mitigate the stress on Valley Drive businesses as much as allowed by law. The New Mexico anti-donation clause strictly limits what the City can do, but the City is supporting affected businesses in this manner:
• Work with NMDOT efforts to expedite construction progress by providing after hours City inspectors,
• Provide detour signs to help guide customers to specific businesses,
• Place personalized access signs with specific business names to assist customers getting to Valley Drive businesses,
• Launch “Patience during Progress” advertising campaign to encourage residents to continue to patronize Valley Drive businesses,
• Provide portable lighting along Valley, until permanent lighting is restored,
• Adjust synchronized stop lights during construction to move traffic as quickly as possible,
• Provide an LCPD surveillance trailer onsite for Valley Drive security, and
• Participate in monthly Valley Drive community meetings hosted by NMDOT to keep businesses informed (held the third Tuesday of every month from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Roadrunner Room of the Thomas Branigan Library).
The City of Las Cruces encourages residents to support local Valley Drive businesses, and work with our local chambers of commerce in their efforts to provide support. Please be patient through the NMDOT Valley Drive road reconstruction. For the most up-to-date information please visit www.valleydrive.net.