Tag Archives: small businesses

Survey: Queens small businesses expect revenue increase, slow job growth


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Graphs courtesy ORC International and TD Bank

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A recently released survey from TD Bank suggested small businesses in Queens are optimistic about 2014, but job growth will be stagnant.

The poll, its inaugural Small Business Pulse Check, surveyed 100 businesses in each borough between November and December of 2013 that make fewer than $5 million a year in revenue. It highlighted the businesses’ outlook for the year, the impact of the sluggish U.S. economy and opinions of the Affordable Care Act.

Nearly half of all businesses in Queens, 44 percent, expect revenue growth this year. However, 61 percent of owners will maintain current staffing levels.

“What this indicates is that they are not expecting contraction,” said Peter Meyer, New York City market president for TD Bank. “They’re looking to be more efficient. I think that reflects an overall cautious view.”

In Queens only 8 percent of businesses have applied for a loan or a line of credit, and just 6 percent say that they are planning to do so.

Meyer said this shows that businesses are comfortable, but not willing to take on debt in order to finance further growth.

A majority of business, 62 percent in Queens, feel that the U.S. economy is to balme for negative impacts on their establishments.

Most businesses believed the country’s economy contributed to a decrease in consumer spending.

On the question of the Affordable Care Act, 52 percent of businesses in the borough said health care reform will have no impact on their businesses.

“Maybe they’re not actually focused on it,” Meyer said. “Obviously they are concerned about the rising cost of it. But I’m kind of surprised that a majority don’t see it having a negative impact on their business.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NY Comptroller DiNapoli: ‘Queens is a New York success story’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Queens is on a roll and isn’t stopping any time soon, according to New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“Queens is a New York success story,” DiNapoli said. “Superstorm Sandy impacted thousands of Queens residents, but the borough is on the recovery path. With a strong economy, a fast growing and diverse population, and several large projects on the horizon, Queens is booming.”

DiNapoli gathered with local elected officials and community leaders at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City Friday to release an economic snapshot of Queens, revealing how the borough has made an economic comeback over the past two years since the Great Recession.

According to the report, since 2012 the borough has had the highest level of employment among all the boroughs outside of Manhattan as private sector employment reached its highest recorded level of 486, 160 jobs. The largest employment sectors in Queens include health care, social assistance, transportation and, warehousing and retail trade.

“A look around the communities of Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Astoria show what Comptroller DiNapoli’s excellent report illustrates – that the economy of Queens is back on track,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.

The borough’s population has also grown by 20 percent over the past three decades, more than the citywide growth rate, according to the report.

The state comptroller’s economic snapshot also found that Queens is the most diverse large county in the United States, with immigrants from more than 120 countries making 48 percent of residents, with not a single dominant ethnic group.

In 2011, the borough had 44,070 business establishments with small businesses leading in the area, according to the report.

The report also found unemployment to be lower in the borough compared to the rest of the city. The unemployment rate averaged 8.3 percent in 2012 and in the first eight months of 2013 dropped to 7.8 percent.

“These numbers show that Queens has weathered the worst of the storm,” said Queens Borough President-elect Melinda Katz. “With nearly half a million Queens workers fueling growth and innovation in the private sector, our borough has moved past the Great Recession that gripped the entire country in recent years, As Borough President, I will build on the successful work of state leaders like Comptroller DiNapoli to ensure we continue creating jobs and growing the economy for all New Yorkers.”

Together with the number of jobs and low unemployment rate, film and television production have both been thriving in the borough. Silvercup Studios, with 410,000 square feet of space and 19 soundstages, is the biggest studio space in the city and Kaufman Astoria Studios has seven soundstages and the city’s only outdoor movie set.

“I just think that film and television production is a mutual part of New York and Queens and of surrounding areas and it provides jobs,” said actor Michael J. Fox, who is filming “The Michael J. Fox Show” at Silvercup Studios. “I want to voice whatever support I can to continue nurturing film and television production in New York, it’s a big part of the city. “

 

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Howard Beach residents, businesses fuming over lack of insurance, gov’t assistance


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

At $9,000 a year, JoAnn Ambrosio thought she had the “Rolls Royce” of insurance. But when four feet of water flooded her Howard Beach home during Sandy, she was left scrambling.

Living in Zone B, Ambrosio was not required to purchase a policy that provided protection from floods — a service that for $400 extra, she wished she owned.

“My insurance company doesn’t even want to talk to me,” said Ambrosio. “I put in a claim and they denied it.”

The realtor, whose rental property was destroyed in the storm, said FEMA refused to offer help with the property she leases because it is registered as a business. She is awaiting notification about a small business loan she requested.

Ambrosio estimates she lost $250,000 between her home and her rental property.

“I’m just looking for every resource,” said Ambrosio. “I did receive help from FEMA but it’s not enough to cover both pieces of property. They did give me a check but it’s not enough to cover the extent of the damage that occurred there — I don’t understand why FEMA doesn’t help small businesses. That just adds insult to injury.”

At a forum at Roma View Catering Hall on Tuesday, November 27, Ambrosio and roughly 50 other homeowners and merchants filled out claims and spoke with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, expressing their frustrations over underperforming insurance companies and lack of government assistance.

“This will not be quick, although we wish it was. We’ve got to stick with it until it’s done,” said de Blasio.

One homeowner, who only received $6,000 from FEMA to cover $17,000 in damages, said her insurance company refused to cover anything because Sandy was a storm and not a hurricane.

Angelo Gurino, owner of Ragtime grocery store on Cross Bay Boulevard, hoped the meeting might bring some clarity among the mess of insurance paperwork. The small business owner said his electrical system — newly installed for $68,000 — experienced the most damage. Gurino estimates rebuilding will run somewhere between $50,000 to $75,000.

“I hate to see the bill when I get it,” he said.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, whose home and office were damaged by Sandy, said the event was to ensure residents that they have not been forgotten.

“The government hasn’t forgotten about them,” said Goldfeder. “There are still people who care about them and the community and about finding ways to rebuild — it’s not the end of the road.”

Small businesses cashing in with Con Ed energy efficiency programs


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Small businesses throughout New York City and Westchester County are taking advantage of a Con Edison energy-efficiency program to save money and preserve the environment.

The program focuses on assisting small businesses by providing them with incentives of up to 70 percent for the cost of upgrading major heating, cooling and lighting systems.

Con Edison will provide small businesses with free energy surveys and free energy conservation measures, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs and water heater thermostats. To qualify, small businesses need to have an average monthly peak demand of less than 100 kilowatts.

The utility highlighted its small business programs at a press conference recently at The New Shanghai Tan Restaurant in Flushing. That business had Con Edison conduct an energy survey that showed it could save $1,500 a year by investing $534 in energy-efficient lighting.

“I encourage every business in our community, both large and small, to take a look at Con Edison’s programs,” said Peter Tu, executive director of the Flushing Chinese Business Association. “This should be of particular importance to us here in Flushing because our business community is growing so rapidly.”

“Our energy-efficiency programs save small businesses money that they can use for investments like new equipment, hiring employees or marketing,” said Esteban Vasquez, a manager in Energy Efficiency and Demand Management for Con Edison. “Businesses that save energy gain a competitive edge and protect the environment.”

Con Edison has conducted energy surveys for 5,600 small businesses this year. And 3,000 of those small businesses have made energy upgrades, saving an estimated 38,000,000 kilowatt hours of usage.

Con Edison’s energy efficiency programs for businesses and homeowners can be found at www.coned.com/greenteam. Customers can also call the company’s Green Team at 1-877-870-6118.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: Shape up NYC: Zumba on the beach

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 Queens man charged with groping a sleeping  18-year-old on JetBlue flight 

A Queens man charged with sexually assaulting a male passenger sleeping next to him on a JetBlue flight was released Monday on $100,000 bail and ordered to undergo a mental examination. Othniel Polanco was caught red-handed fondling the 18-year-old victim’s genitals by a passenger who was sitting two seats over and witnessed the lewd act, authorities said. Read more: [New York Daily News]

It’s lockdown mode for drivers who don’t pay their fines 

The smartboot program, which keeps ticket scofflaws’ cars in place until the driver pays up, was rolled out in southern Queens on Monday. Under the program, parking enforcement company Paylock is authorized by a city deputy sheriff to attach a bright yellow wheel clamp to the cars of drivers who owe more than $350 in unpaid parking, red light camera and bus lane violations. The program was instituted in parts of Brooklyn last month. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Congressman Meeks meets with families of children lost to gun violence 

Following a rise in violent crimes in southeast Queens, Congressman Gregory Meeks sat down on Monday with the families members of children who have been murdered within the district. Read more: [NY1] 

Woodside leaders, pols propose cheaper BID option for small businesses 

Woodside leaders want to give business owners a taste of BID-lite. The community board and pols in Woodside recently proposed a cheaper model for a business improvement district that they hope will speed the BID’s instatement. However, detractors said the plan will drag businesses into unneeded expenses. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

National Pastimes: Queens women take top spots in local netball league 

At first glance, it may seem like a group of women in St. Albans, Queens are playing basketball, but there’s no backboard and there’s no dribbling. They are playing netball, a game many of these women learned growing up in the Caribbean. Read more: [NY1]