Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

small businesses

small businesses

  • walsh a rubdj

    A busy Bronx street (photo: Ruben Diaz Jr/Flickr)


    A recent New York Times editorial entitled “Save New York’s Small Business” strongly encourages the city to become more small business-friendly and “go big.” I would suggest that when it comes to saving our small businesses and neighborhoods, often it is not the big that is needed – it is the go part. Getting stuff done in improving neighborhoods can be very challenging.

    From Flatbush Avenue to Fordham Road, Business Improvement Districts (BID) have become a very effective and powerful tool in engaging property owners and

    ...
  • 1 city council examines admin efforts

    Council Member Paul Vallone (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The City Council’s committees on economic development and small business met last week for an oversight hearing to assess how the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the city Department of Small Business Services (SBS), and the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development have adjusted their programming because of COVID-19 and discuss what they’re doing to promote equity across the five boroughs.

    According to the New York State

    ...
  • 1 nycsbs

    SBS Commissioner Doris at a small business (photo: @NYC_SBS)


    Frustrated City Council members and hopeful––yet weary––small business advocates took to a hearing Tuesday to express their concerns about the Open Storefronts program launched recently by Mayor de Blasio after outcry from the business community, particularly smaller retailers. Small businesses, many of which are struggling to hold on if they haven’t already closed due to the pandemic and a lack of government help, can enroll in the program that, as of now, will give them through December 31 to sell their merchandise

    ...
  • sm bus visits

    Small businesses are the lifeblood for so many (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As cases of COVID-19 rise once again, New York is faced with a second wave that could force “nonessential” businesses to shutter their doors, and for many this may be permanent. This would hinder profitable operations and wipe out families’ income without proper support. In the Bronx and across New York City, we are powered by immigrant-owned small businesses that are essential to

    ...
  • bor haller bk

    Eric Adams at a Brooklyn business (photo: @BKBoroHall)


    At the height of the pandemic New York City did the unthinkable in the city that never sleeps: it closed up shop. To stop the spread and protect lives, we shut down everything—including the tens of thousands of small businesses that are the backbone of our local economy.

    The sacrifice was immense. New Yorkers gave up their livelihoods and put their American dreams on hold. Some lost everything.

    It did not have to be this way. One good thing that Washington did during the crisis was to fund a lifeline for small

    ...
  • 2 tour smallbus

    Mayor de Blasio gets ice cream (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    An advisory council created by Mayor Bill de Blasio to speak on behalf of the city’s small businesses hasn’t convened in months and some of its members say their concerns aren’t being heard as the city charts a stunted recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

    In April, de Blasio announced the creation of several task forces to help lead the city’s recovery efforts, including advisory councils dedicated to specific sectors such as large and small businesses, health care, education,

    ...
  • business calls progs

    Mayor de Blasio at a press conference (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Though New York City has begun a slow march towards economic recovery, many small businesses, including retailers deemed non-essential, are still struggling to stay afloat as sales have decreased and customers are reluctant to return. While a great deal of focus has been on the city’s extensive restaurant industry, other small businesses are seeking a lifeline from city government. In a letter sent on Wednesday to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council, the

    ...
  • 3 restaurant melba

    Mayor de Blasio & Chirlane McCray dine at Melba's in Harlem (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Miriam Milord, the Black owner of BCakeNY in Brooklyn, had to completely reimagine her custom dessert business when the coronavirus pandemic hit New York. She usually served events of around 75 to 100 people, but, with social distancing guidelines, customers cancelled those gatherings. All of her orders disappeared.

    “So that stopped, you know, from one day to the next pretty much,” said Milord. “So not only were we not selling cakes, we also were

    ...
  • cm car riv small bus

    Small businesses are closed or on the brink across the city (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The day after the 90-day moratorium on eviction ends, residential and commercial eviction proceedings will potentially flood our courts, leaving families and small businesses gasping for air. 

    Amid this pandemic, it is imperative that New York City expands the Right to Counsel law by increasing legal capacity to meet the inevitable COVID-19 eviction demand, and, building on this model, establish a new initiative to provide free legal

    ...
  • images shot day

    Restaurants are struggling to survive during the lockdown (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    As New York City’s mom-and-pop restaurants struggle to survive in lockdown conditions owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the New York City Council appears poised to help them cut costs by passing a bill to cap fees charged by third-party delivery services, which have proliferated in recent years via phone apps.

    Small restaurants that cannot afford delivery workers or have recognized the popularity of the apps rely on the third-party services like Grubhub, Seamless (which

    ...
  • economy rendering jobs

    When will the city economy re-open, and how? (image: Mayor's Office)


    Billions of dollars in typical commerce isn’t happening as the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has brought the local economy to a near-standstill, and with the shutdown hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in expected tax revenue lost from city coffers. The unparalleled scale of the crisis, with no clear end in sight, has made forecasts unpredictable. What’s not in doubt is that the city will eventually have to revive and rebuild its communities, its industries and job market,

    ...
  • bdb cmc public adv paid

    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photo Office)


    As a small business owner of a toy company in Brooklyn, and a working mother who employs a nanny and a house cleaner, I am standing up in support of the Paid Personal Time bill under consideration in the New York City Council. This piece of legislation would ensure that over a million New Yorkers, including domestic workers and other workforces, would have the right to paid vacation time, something I take for granted as an employer. 

    One of the biggest motivations I had to be self-employed, was to

    ...
  • mmv gb sbs

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The holiday season is upon us and we all know the temptation of online shopping. The ease of getting the things we want at the click of a button might seem harmless, but it has major consequences for local small businesses.

    Shopping online takes away from the livelihood of local residents and strips the community of its extraordinary businesses. E-commerce also means you don’t have the ability to inspect your purchases before receipt, you have to go through the hassle of repackaging and returning items you don’t want to keep,

    ...
  • mmv sbs gregg

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    As the owner of a small retail shop it is stomach-churning to publicly state that I do not support a piece of city legislation that would mandate 10 days of annual paid leave for all working New Yorkers at businesses of five or more employees and comes in addition to the mandated five paid sick days assured under the 2014 Paid Safe & Sick Leave law.

    I believe paid time off is a just right and I am a fierce defender of my staff. Contrary to the words used by Mayor Bill de Blasio in stumping for this bill, I do not

    ...
  • spring street park

    Spring Street Park (photo: Hudson Square BID)


    International marketing, advertising and public relations firms; a medical tech company; an incubator for artists and performers; a genomic research institution; a local pharmacy, the home of three of the nation’s leading public radio stations; a billion-dollar travel website.

    While they serve different audiences and tackle different challenges, they share a certain spirit of ingenuity that tends to define great businesses and innovative thinkers.

    They also share a neighborhood: the public parks,

    ...
  • nyc planning vacancy study aug 2019 cover

    (photo: NYC Planning)


    To the Editor:

    In response to the opinion piece “Our Small Business Crisis is Very Real, and Demands City Action,” (Sept. 25), we want to caution that the tens of thousands of retail businesses in New York City come in all shapes and sizes, and no one solution fits all.

    Contrary to the author’s claim, the Department of City Planning’s (DCP’s) ...

  • bdb rec business

    Mayor de Blasio & Council Member Cornegy stop at a small business (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    New York City’s small businesses need more employees but struggle with hiring, and lack the time and resources they need to find and train talent. Their operational costs continue to be a challenge, including the cost of rent, insurance, and utilities. They need more financial support for growth and more assistance to comply with government rules and regulations.

    Those are just a few of the findings of a limited and first-of-its-kind survey conducted by

    ...
  • amdo kitchen momo

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Ask any New Yorker and they will tell you how neighborhood streets that once bustled with small, mom-and-pop businesses now have a Duane Reade on one corner and a large bank on the other, with a row of empty stores in between. When I was growing up in Washington Heights, like a lot of New Yorkers, I could walk down the street to the local corner store where they knew my name and could even guess what I wanted before I started talking. That’s what made growing up in the city so special – the local institutions embedded

    ...
  • 5thave business

    (photo: @shootingbrooklyn)


    As a small business owner in New York City for 11 years, I believe it is imperative that city officials reframe the current debate over whether or not we face a small business crisis. In an August column for Gotham Gazette, Carol Kellermann used the results of a recently-published New York City Department of City Planning report on storefront

    ...
  • city council mmv sbs bishop

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    When shops and restaurants that you love and depend on close it can be heartbreaking; I know from personal experience. My Upper West Side neighborhood has been seen as the epicenter of what some call a “small business crisis” in New York City, and we have certainly seen our share of lost community icons and long-shuttered storefronts, but a new report shows there is no citywide crisis and lawmakers should be very careful as they consider remedies to what problems do exist.

    Earlier this month

    ...
  • may bdb bx president ruben richie

    (photo: Edwin J. Torres. Mayoral Photo Office)


    The City Council took steps Tuesday aimed at addressing what some have described as a crisis of small business closures across the city.

    Passing a package of bills that now head to Mayor Bill de Blasio for approval or veto, the Council is seeking to mandate more city outreach to small business and studies of business closures. The legislation does not, however, directly address concerns expressed by members of the business community about over-regulation.

    Under de Blasio and two

    ...
  • citycouncil gjonaj

    (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    The number of jobs in New York City reached an all-time high this year, bringing the unemployment rate to record lows. We are the envy of the nation. But there is one key sector where jobs are declining. For the first time in more than a decade, we are seeing job losses among restaurants and food service establishments.

    In an attempt to halt some of these losses, City Council Members Brad Lander and Adrienne Adams introduced legislation to prohibit employers from firing fast food workers without just cause, meaning

    ...
  • business office

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The political imbalance in New York City between business and “anti-business” forces is becoming untenable.

    What is happening here has been in the works for many years and was not difficult to predict. Rising income inequality and the perception of a corrupt ruling class brought us the Tea Party movement, Occupy Wall Street, and the 2016 presidential candidacies of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

    As the nation gears up for the 2020 presidential race, rhetoric pitting “corporate

    ...
  • cm rtorres funding

    Council Member Ritchie Torres (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    The polarizing issue of local retailers going cashless has gotten the attention of New York City Council members, and on Thursday a Council committee will hear testimony on the topic and consider competing legislative proposals.

    The Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing, chaired by Council Member Rafael Espinal, a Brooklyn Democrat, will hear the bills for the first time. One, ...

  • bkcupcakes

    Carmen Rodriguez, owner of Brooklyn Cupcake in Williamsburg, opens her store


    As the Minimum Wage Hits $15, New York City Business Owners Find Ways to Make It Work

    Colin Cento tells his food couriers to take on additional gigs from delivery services such as Uber Eats and Postmates, even as they work for him. Cento, who co-owns a chain of three fast-casual restaurants in Lower Manhattan called Poke Green, encourages them to supplement their income with the extra jobs because he pays them as contractors rather than staff employees and only

    ...