It’s not easy to be a small business owner in New York City, as we’ve seen time and time again. Changing tastes, the influx of chain stores, and the city’s unpredictable real estate market are just some of the factors that can lead to a mom-and-pop’s demise, and no corner of the city is immune.
But in an effort to combat that, the Department of Small Business Services today revealed a new initiative, due to run through April, to help New Yorkers highlight their favorite independent shops throughout the five boroughs. Called “NYC Love Your Local,” the program’s centerpiece is an interactive map where city denizens can highlight the small businesses they love in their neighborhoods. (This is not the time to hold out on your hidden neighborhood bakery, is what we’re saying.)
The process of nominating a business is fairly simple: All you do is fill out a form on the Love Your Local website, and once it’s been determined that the business qualifies, it’ll get added to the map.
There’s an added bonus for businesses that end up on the map: Once there, they can apply for a grant from the city, which has earmarked $1.8 million for this initiative. (Businesses could receive up to $90,000 of that.) Grant winners will receive “advice from industry experts and a grant to make proposed changes a reality,” according to a press release.
“New York City is full of unique neighborhoods that are given character by local merchants and entrepreneurs,” Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services, said in a statement. “New Yorkers should share their favorite neighborhood business and be sure to show their love.” Amen to that.
The city does have some protections in place for small business owners, though one bill that would go further in protecting them—the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, which has garnered plenty of grassroots support—has yet to gain high-level support (though some members of the City Council are on board).
- NYC Love Your Local [Official]
- Mapping the NYC institutions shuttered by rising rents in 2016 [Curbed]