The visit was the first time in five years that an SBS commissioner toured Sunnyside’s commercial corridor, which encompasses Queens Boulevard from 38th to 50th streets and Greenpoint Avenue from Queens Boulevard to midway between 42nd and 43rd streets.
“I’m very excited to actually meet the small businesses on this tour,” Bishop said to the small crowd gathered next to the Sunnyside Arch. “We need Sunnyside BID to help businesses grow.”
Bishop visited Fresh N Save and Nelson’s Barber Shop on Queens Boulevard; Flowers by Giorgie, Cumbia y Sabor and Realtegrity Real Estate on Greenpoint Avenue; and a Verizon store on 46th Street.
He spoke with the owners about myriad topics, including their history in the neighborhood, difficulties they had encountered opening their business, how they recruit employees and if they currently have any issues they need assistance with.
The tour ended at Bliss Plaza, where the Panambi Vera Paraguayan Dancers kicked off this year’s Sunnyside Shines Beats in Bliss Plaza series with a folkloric ballet performance.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer joined the commissioner for the tour, during which the pair discussed issues related to supporting small businesses. The commissioner and the councilman noted the importance of partnerships in their public remarks.
“We like to say it’s always sunny in Sunnyside,” Van Bramer said on the hot April afternoon. “Commissioner, you brought not just the sun, but the summer. We need [SBS’] help to keep our BID strong.”
The tour followed an announcement on April 26 that SBS has awarded $1.17 million in grants to fund development projects that support small business corridors in underserved neighborhoods.
Among the community organizations selected to receive funding is the Queens Economic Development Corporation, which has previously been awarded SBS grants.
Bishop’s Sunnyside visit coincided with National Small Business Week, during which he also toured DeKalb Market Hall in Brooklyn.
There are nearly 300 registered businesses within the Sunnyside Shines BID. In addition to promoting, and providing resources for, small businesses, the group hosts community events and maintains public spaces.
A recent report by SBS found that the city’s 75 BIDs invested more than $147 million in local neighborhoods during the last fiscal year.