Tag Archives: Small Business Saturday

Op-ed: Where would we be without our local small businesses?

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


It has been said small businesses are the backbone of our communities here in Queens, and I am certainly one to reiterate that sentiment. The small businesses, many of which I frequent myself — convenient stores, delis, restaurants and more — are what keep so many of our borough’s commercial corridors going.

Small Business Saturday, on Nov. 29, is a time to acknowledge the services our local stores have to offer. The everyday items we may not always take the time to note, the comfort we have in being a “regular” somewhere, or simply just having a convenient place to shop, are certainly reasons to appreciate our local stores. Cross Bay Boulevard, Myrtle Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue, Jamaica Avenue, Grand Avenue, Beach 116th Street and Beach 129th Street are just some of the corridors that see thousands of people every day. Where would we be without them?

Small Business Saturday falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of the busiest shopping days of the year, and two days not necessarily reserved for local shops. We should take this day as a reminder to give back to the smaller stores that really allow us to live our day-to-day lives locally. While the holiday chaos can bring us toward larger department stores or big-name brands, we must not forget the mom-and-pop stores which help us all year round.

Statistics show 23 million small businesses account for 54 percent of all sales nationwide, over 50 percent of jobs and nearly 70 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s. In New York City, those numbers shouldn’t surprise us. Thanks to our corner stores, local supermarkets and more, we should know the impact our small businesses have on our communities.

In Albany, we continue to fight for the rights of small store owners, and this upcoming 2015 session should be no different. I have sponsored a variety of bills and supported budget items relating to local businesses, including ones which establish a small business tax credit for the employment of seniors, of unemployed college graduates and of unemployed veterans. Also another which would provide grants to small business owners to rebuild storefronts severely damaged by Sandy.

In last year’s budget discussions, we were able to adopt several measures to help our local stores financially. The budget provided new, pro-business tax cuts, hiring tax credits, reduction of costs and red tape for businesses, workforce training for job openings, a Start-Up New York Tax Free program and more.

In reducing the red tape for store owners, the budget modernized and simplified both unemployment insurance and workers compensation, and ultimately provides employers with $1.2 billion in savings without affecting workers’ benefits.

Whether at home in the district or in Albany, I will continue to keep the needs of the small business owners in mind. There can always be something done to promote their services and remind them they are vital to our community. This Small Business Saturday, I urge you to do the same. I hope you will join me in shopping at your favorite local store and show the owners the gratitude they deserve.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. represents southern Queens.


Black Friday and Small Business Saturday deals in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Asha Mahadevan


A diamond ring, inexpensive designer bags and discounted flat-screen TVs are just some of the goods shoppers can expect to find in Queens on Black Friday and throughout Thanksgiving weekend.

Michael Kors is offering a 50 percent discount on their bags, Macy’s is selling a $1,300 diamond ring for $499 and Atlas Park shops are distributing free gifts.

Local shops are also jumping into the festivities on Small Business Saturday (Nov. 29) with shop owners offering massive discounts to encourage shoppers to go local.

We rounded up some of the best deals available:

Buy one full-priced item at Banana Republic at the Queens Center Mall at 90-15 Queens Blvd. until 1 p.m. on Black Friday and take 40 percent off all of your purchases all day. Take 50 percent off your entire purchase on Thanksgiving and Black Friday at the Gap in QCM and 40 percent off your entire purchase on Nov. 29. Craving that special Michael Kors bag all season? If you go to their boutique at QCM, take 50 percent off select styles and an additional 25 percent off all sale merchandise until 10 a.m. on Friday. Go on www.shopqueenscenter.com for a full listing of participating retailers.

Famed retailer Macy’s is also hosting a great Black Friday sale. The retailer at QCM is offering deals on all their departments. Purchase a three-stone diamond ring in 14-karat white gold that is regularly priced at $1,300 for $499. Save 60 percent off select designer coats from the women’s department. Take $100-150 off select Dyson vacuums. For kids, save 60 percent off select Carter’s playwear.

Do you have a craving for electronics and other select goodies that you cannot find at the malls? Target at 88-01 Queens Blvd. is offering door busters on their HDTVs. Save $302 on a 60-inch Samsung 1080 pixel Smart LED television. Receive a free Target gift card when you purchase any iPad mini or iPad Air. How about that GoPro HERO3+ Silver Edition? Only $249.99 with a gift card offer. Visit www.target.com to view their Black Friday weekly ads and start purchasing now. Other electronic giants like Costco at 3250 Vernon Blvd. offer $130 instant savings off a Nikon L830 Digital Camera. Save $150 on a HP Envy 15.6 inch TouchSmart laptop with Beats Audio.

Other centers like the Shops at Atlas Park at 8000 Cooper Ave. will distribute a free gift to the first 250 shoppers who arrive at the Atlas Park holiday table. Retailers within Atlas Park will open, the earliest by Toys R Us at 6 a.m. and the latest, J.Jill and Laila Rowe, at 10 a.m. Visit www.shopatlaspark.com/events/BlackFriday_2014 for a complete viewing of retailers and their hours.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District is having a free kick-off party from noon to 1 p.m. at Bliss Plaza on 46th Street and Queens Boulevard. Rachel Thieme, executive director of the BID, said that the organization is participating in Small Business Saturday because “the event raises our profile and we want to draw attention to the district.” She added, “We are also distributing the Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide featuring 22 shops in Sunnyside.”

Czarinna Andres, a board member of the BID and owner of Bing’s Hallmark at 45-15 Greenpoint Ave. in Sunnyside, said her store is offering quite a few special deals, such as free gifts with any $50 or $100 purchase.

“We have a lot of specially priced items exclusive for that weekend including all our boxed cards and gift ornaments at buy one, get the second 50 percent off,” Andres said. “We will also be offering free gift wrapping for any gift item purchased in-store.”

It’s a special day for Megan Siefert, manager of Demi Hair Salon at 4701 Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside because it is a way for the neighborhood “to get to know about our salon and products.”

“People go to CVS or Rite Aid for hair products because they think it is cheaper but sometimes, it is actually not,” she said. “The other plus of buying a product at our salon is that you can speak to a professional and get a product that’s right for your hair.” She is offering 20 percent off all services on that day, if clients mention the deal while making an appointment.

The Brass Owl, a boutique specializing in shoes, accessories and gifts at 3619 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria, is pulling out all the stops: owner Nicole Panettieri said that she is offering special deals, free gifts and “refreshments throughout the day.”

Robert Briskin, owner of Alicia’s Jewelers in the Bay Terrace Shopping Center, said some of the best holiday deals are at smaller shops like his.

“Small businesses suffer on Black Fridays because of the deals shoppers get in big box stores,” Briskin said. “On Saturdays, they come to their senses and realize that they can get better deals in smaller shops. We have low prices every day but on Small Business Saturday, we are offering 50 percent off on certain brands of watches such as Ebel, TechnoMarine and Bedat, among others.”

According to Rob MacKay, director of public relations, marketing and tourism, Queens Economic Development Corporation, “shop locally” is a very important concept.

“Local store owners are often extremely involved in their communities and invested in the success of their communities,” he said. “They tend to hire local people, support little leagues, organize cleanups, invest in improvements and even shop in the area themselves. They also pay taxes that municipalities need to provide services.”

Shopping locally is also a greener way to shop, he said. “You travel less when you go to the local store and burn less gas and waste less time.” Healthy stores attract other healthy stores, which is good for any neighborhood, he said.


Sunnyside BID encourages residents to ‘shop local’ for holidays

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

On this year’s Small Business Saturday, one business improvement district is making sure residents keep it local.

The Sunnyside Shines BID is celebrating Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29 with a kickoff event in Bliss Plaza, one of two new pedestrian plazas under the elevated No. 7 train, and with the release of Sunnyside’s first-ever Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide.

“We really want people to reengage with the local businesses here in Sunnyside,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the BID. “There are just so many opportunities and we do have a good variety of retail [in Sunnyside] and we really wanted to highlight that in this guide and showcase that there are so many different types of ideas here.”

The guide, which was created in partnership with students at LaGuardia Community College, is a full-color, printed brochure that features holiday gift ideas from 22 local shops. Residents that live in the area the BID covers will receive the guides in the mail next week.

Czarinna Andres, owner of Bing’s Hallmark, located at 45-15 Greenpoint Ave., said she is delighted the holiday gift guide will help promote local businesses like her own.

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

“Every bit of publicity helps local businesses. Launching the gift guide on Small Business Saturday is a perfect way to make the community more aware of the importance of shopping locally,” Andres said.

Seda Bagdasarya, owner of the jewelry shop That’s Incredible at 45-21 Greenpoint Ave., also hopes this guide will help improve business and bring more customers.

“It’s going to be very good,” Bagdasarya said. “It could be very helpful for business and I hope it continues every year.”

The Small Business Saturday kickoff event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at Bliss Plaza, located on Queens Boulevard and 46th Street. It will feature free giveaways including the guide and Small Business Saturday-branded tote bags, while supplies last. There will also be live music from the Sunnyside Social Club.

“Resources like the Sunnyside Shines Shop Local Holiday Gift are creative, important tools to help promote local businesses and engage residents as they start shopping for the holiday season,” said Maria Torres-Springer, commissioner of the city’s Department of Small Business Services, who encourages New Yorkers to shop locally this Small Business Saturday and beyond.

For more information, visit www.sunnysideshines.org.


Small businesses have their day

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Melissa Chan

Smack in the middle of two of the biggest retail days of the year, local shops in Bayside celebrated Small Business Saturday.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District [BID], consisting of over 200 businesses including shoe outfitters, flower shops and bookstores, celebrated its retail diversity on Saturday, November 24 with a block party and gift card raffles.

“If you need something, you can definitely find what you’re looking for on Bell Boulevard,” said Bayside BID executive director Lyle Sclair. “[Small Business Saturday] raises awareness about shopping locally.” Assisted by American Express and the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), the Bayside BID opened up local stores to garner support from the community and inform residents about all the incredible shops right in their backyard.

“It’s important, especially in a place like Bayside where you have a variety of providers but all different kinds of products; it puts them all in one place,” said Sclair.

Karen Serin, owner of Top Drawer on Bell Boulevard, said she was happy to be included in the event. “It was very beneficial,” said Serin, who has been in business for 33 years. “It increased traffic and gave us exposure and a lot of our customers came in and told us they were glad the event was going on.”