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Orange construction barrels along a road.
Road construction is needed to maintain our infrastructure, but can be challenging for retailers.
Bill Hallan headshot

By: William J. Hallan, President and CEO, Michigan Retailers Association

As we emerge from the darkness of winter into a very welcome and early spring, I am reminded of a common biblical verse: “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” As the gray skies part and the sun peeks out, it’s not just daffodils poking through the ground that we see, but orange construction barrels. Just recently, the Michigan Department of Transportation commenced a major renovation of I-496 in Lansing, which will be a significant inconvenience for the next couple of years. Your MRA team members are currently navigating back roads that are scattered with potholes to report for in-person duty at our world headquarters in Lansing.

Many of our members know this feeling. In fact, our local roads are in worse shape than our interstates, so they need attention the most. But when a local township or city decides to tear up a downtown artery or fix an important intersection, it can have a devastating impact on nearby retailers.

Over the years, I’ve talked with many of our members who have muddled (or suffered) through construction right in front of their store that lasts forever. “We’re open” signs and Facebook posts notifying customers about alternative routes can only do so much.

Pulling from Persian origins is another timely proverb: “this too shall pass.” Eventually, the construction will end, and the improved infrastructure will benefit the community.

While the team at MRA may not be able to eliminate construction affecting your store, if there is other government red tape you’re dealing with, do not hesitate to reach out to We’ll roll up our sleeves and get to work for you.