Simone Price, executive director of the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District (BID), stepped down from her role last week to take a job at the MTA.
Price, who has acted as executive director for seven years, led a number of initiatives to revitalize storefronts and attract new businesses to Jamaica. She will become the assistant director of government and community relations at the MTA starting on Sept. 8.
Price said this was her second job out of college and that she jokingly tells people that she “grew up in this role,” as she learned marketing, retail attraction, managing day-to-day operations, urban planning and economic development in her tenure.
One of her favorite projects included the upgrade of five storefront facades, which was made possible by a $95,000 grant from the city’s Small Business Services department (SBS). Her work, which has included helping existing retailers to improve their businesses and proving to prospective retailers that Jamaica is a viable place to operate a business, has led to strong relationships, she said.
“I’m really passionate about this work and worked really hard to make sure that their needs are met and quality of life is improved as a result of my work in the BID and the mission of the BID,” Price said.
Her Adopt-a-Family program is also a highlight of her career, she said, because she created a “sense of community and family” with the five-year program. Business owners are encouraged to donate toys, clothes and shoes to children in shelters and foster care centers across Queens. The program supports more than 100 families in need.
Though the BID has not found a new director, Price hopes that her replacement continues expanding the programs she established and also “[taps] into some of the areas that perhaps they have more of an expertise in.”
Price said the organization has a greater number of resources and grants available to them, which will allow the new director to hire more staff and leverage the growing popularity of the organization and the increasing real estate development in downtown Jamaica.
“Maybe they’ll think about expanding the boundaries once the development takes place” and “getting better quality retail in place and systems where you can quantify the services that are taking place…in terms of spending power, buying power in the area and the number of people that are coming here to shop,” Price said.
The BID represents 134 businesses between Hillside and 94th Avenues and is funded by a special tax assessment paid for by property owners in the district. To apply for the executive director position, visit the Sutphin Boulevard BID website.