BY JAMES FARRELL
Several local stakeholders in downtown Flushing gathered on Friday to kick off a three-year, $1.55 million initiative—part of New York City Small Business Services’ (SBS) new Neighborhood 360° grant.
The grant was awarded to six commercial corridors throughout Queens and is intended to address the local needs of small businesses as assessed by SBS last year.
Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), a non-profit that serves the city’s Asian American population, was granted the bid last month, along with the Downtown Flushing Business Improvement District (BID). The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce will be a part of the partnership as well.
At Friday’s press conference, the two groups announced the formation of a steering committee with a long list of community stakeholders who will develop a plan to promote Flushing’s business community. That group consists of AAFE, the Flushing BID, Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, Flushing Chinese Business Association, Flushing Willets Point Coronal Local Development Corporation, the office of Borough President Melinda Katz and many others. Zach Bommer, a spokesman from AAFE, said more were expected to join.
The new plan would institute workshops, advertising campaigns, tourism promotions and attempt to expand local infrastructure for sanitation and garbage clean up, an issue that has persisted in Flushing’s crowded commercial corridors.
“Local small businesses are the generator that has transformed Flushing into a vibrant economic hub for New York City, providing a retail economy of well over $1 billion a year,” said Christopher Kui, executive director of AAFE. “Now is the time to re-invest in Flushing and support the small business owners who have worked so hard to get us here. I’m excited to work with our neighborhood partners—the Chamber and the BID—and SBS to give businesses the necessary tools to succeed and thrive in this exciting new time for Flushing.”
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.