As the Business 40 Improvement Project shifts into the design build stage and before construction begins in 2016, the projects’ newest addition is reaching out to the hundreds of businesses that call the 1.2 mile stretch of highway their home.

“My goal is to shake hands, share a smile, let people know that I’m here, that I care and that most importantly I can help them find the resources they need that will help their business absorb and potential impact this project may have on their bottom line,” said Cassandra Herndon, the Business 40 Liaison.

When construction on the Business 40 Improvement Project starts, the N.C. Department of Transportation will completely close 1.2 miles of U.S. 421/Business 40 for up to two years. During that time there will be construction and detours and hundreds of business are right in the thick of the renovation. Herndon is reaching out to every business possible before the groundwork begins to help them prepare for the potential impact.

“You’ll see me everywhere! Friday I went inside 525@vine building and spent time with the folks from Flywheel,” Herndon said.

Flywheel, a co-working innovation space is inside Innovation Quarters. The 234,000-square foot mixed-use laboratory and office building houses Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Division of Public Health Sciences and Department of Physician Assistant Studies, and the Innovation Quarter YMCA of Northwest North Carolina.

“There are dozens of people whose business and livelihood depend on the success of the Business 40 Improvement project and they don’t know that there are avenues they can use to help them weather the 24 months of construction closures. They need to know that help is just an email and phone call away,” Herndon said.

Some of those business owners were outside 525@vine during the Winston<40 Food Truck Friday. One of the many vendors speaking with Herndon that day was Jake Carter, with The Edge Flats, “I haven’t heard much.. Obviously that chunk is going to be shut down, definitely needs to be repaired.”

Herndon’s reply, “That’s what I’m here for.”

“Some of the questions being asked by business owners are simple and the answers can be found on the project website, and some cannot. I have, or will obtain the answers for them, all they need do is pick up the phone.”

If you are a business owner email or call Cassandra Herndon:  336-747-7833. Members of the media can contact: (336) 487-0157.