February 20, By Christian Murray
At a time when independent stores and family-run restaurants are closing at a rapid rate across New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a program that aims to celebrate the owners of these ma & pa businesses and offer them some potential funding.
De Blasio and the Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop announced last week the launch of ‘NYC Love Your Local,’ a new initiative to celebrate and promote independent businesses that they say enriches neighborhoods across New York City.
The program encourages New Yorkers to share their favorite non-franchise businesses at nyc.gov/loveyourlocal, which will automatically add the business to an interactive map. Residents may also share why they love their favorite local business on social media by using the hashtag #LoveYourLocalNYC.
Those businesses that have been shared or are on the interactive map will then be able to apply for a share of $1.8 million in grant funding and expert advice.
“New York City thrives on the energy, culture and diversity of small businesses,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The NYC Love Your Local program gives New Yorkers a chance to support their favorite businesses by bringing the local establishments they love into the limelight and giving them the chance to cultivate business through a nomination to win a $1.8 million grant.”
“Independent, small businesses are the backbone of our neighborhoods, and the NYC Love Your Local initiative recognizes and supports their vital role in the fabric of New York City,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation is a funding partner for the business grants.
Local officials and Queens business organizations praised de Blasio’s program.
“The Queens Chamber of Commerce is thrilled about this initiative,” said Thomas Grech, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “As the most diverse county in the U.S. and the largest geographic borough in New York City, Queens and our small local businesses will be well served by this unique initiative. Queens has nearly 47,000 business entities spread across 14 NYC City Council District so this project will truly spread the love across the borough.”