Supporting our small businesses
Our small businesses are a real treasure of our communities. They are a big part of our daily lives, the places where we see our neighbors, so much of what make our neighborhoods feel like home.
We all know what a difference it makes to be able to find the things we want and need, from small businesses, owned by real human beings, located a short walk from home – rather than having to rely on chain stores and strip malls.
But our “Mom and Pops” face many challenges. It’s never easy to start or run a small business. And today – with rising rents, and competition from big-box stores and online retailers – it's harder than ever. As our much-loved local businesses get priced out, our communities suffer, with long-vacant storefronts (even in thriving neighborhoods), and the loss of supermarkets, laundromats, and stores we’ve come to rely on.
At the City Council, we’re looking for ways that we can promote retail diversity and preserve neighborhood character, through our City's zoning regulations and incentive programs. Tomorrow, the Council’s Committee on Small Businesses and the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will hold a joint hearing to listen to concerns and discuss potential policy solutions.
If you love small businesses – and especially if you’re a small business owner – I hope you’ll consider joining us for the hearing tomorrow:
If you can’t join us, please help spread the word to your favorite small business owner.
And while you’re at it, let us know your favorite neighborhood small business. Fill out this quick form, and I’ll shout them out – at the hearing, and on social media. Or shout them out yourself on Twitter or Facebook, with the hashtag #FavSmallBiz, copy me @bradlander and I’ll re-post.
I also want to say a big thank-you to three great “business improvement districts (BIDs)” in our area. The Fifth Avenue BID, North Flatbush BID, and Atlantic Avenue BID bring businesses, property owners, and residents together to help keep our commercial strips clean and thriving – with street-cleaning, graffiti-removal, neighborhood events, promotions, and more. We’re also working closely with small businesses owners on Court Street and Smith Street in Carroll Gardens to help form a BID of their own.
We’re lucky to live in a community with a thriving, diverse, and truly unique retail scene – but it takes an effort on all our parts to support our local business, and keep community retail alive.