The Merchant Education program is Phase II in the 90-day plan. The objectives are to improve relations between neighborhood residents and local business owners, to reduce sale of alcohol, tobacco and drug paraphernalia, reduce loitering, and increase sale of fresh produce and other grocery items.
The plan began with community surveys of local convenience stores and of residents. Surveys of stores provided inventory of what is being sold. Resident surveys indicated what the residents prefer to have sold.
Business owners were then contacted to begin the process of positive change that will help reduce local crime that centers around loitering and substance use/abuse.
Some of the business owners are beginning to change their inventory. Grants are being sought for façade improvements, to purchase freezers and refrigeration, and to find alternative advertising (tobacco and alcohol advertisers provide up to $1500 per month to store owners for such ads). One store owner agreed to let the community place a PSN sign on his store. Another agreed to play classical music to reduce interest in loitering around his store.