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BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
April - June 2012
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
New Trees on Fulton
Native New Yorker Puts Down Bicycle Roots Local Cobbler is Good for the Sole
Photo of Gavriel of Fulton Cobbler
Faces of Bed-Stuy: Numi Deodee
An Aging Improvement District
Letter from The Executive Director
Dear Neighbors, Welcome to our 2nd quarterly issue of the year. Over the past few months, we’ve been obsessively soliciting all types of businesses to come open their doors on our 1.5 mile stretch of Fulton Street here in Central Brooklyn. As the streetscape improvement project forges ahead, bringing a dynamic new retail environment that will include trees, benches, and a brand new outdoor 8,000 square-foot public plaza, we’re excited that entrepreneurs are taking up the charge to add to the district’s existing retail product and service offerings: My Arena, a new bar/lounge concept located on the eastern edge of the district at 557 Classon Avenue hosted the BID’s very successful March “Nothing But Networking.” Participants at that event were even treated to a sneak peek at Alice’s Arbor, the new locavore restaurant coming to 549 Classon Avenue. We’re thrilled that Busy Bee Bagel will be a new place to get your nosh on when it opens its doors at the corner of Fulton Street and Classon Avenue. And for all you bikers, check out our profile inside on Nechama Levy, owner of Bicycle Roots, which will open soon on Fulton Street and Claver Place. Our interview with longtime Bed-Stuy resident Numi Deodee offers an insider’s perspective on the neighborhood’s evolution over these past few decades. Insightful, informative, and heartfelt. Truly educational. As New Yorkers, I know all of us appreciate the value of navigating the neighborhood in comfort and style – Gavriel Leviev’s Fulton Street Cobbler will help you do just that. And in this hyper- communicative world of Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and RSS feeds, who can truly contemplate conducting business – indeed conducting life! – without being one click away from an update? Stay tuned for the BID’s upcoming social media workshops. I can say at the eight month mark that while we’re gratified that successes are coming to fruition, there is so much more work that needs to be done. The success of Fulton Street in Central Brooklyn – I’ll venture to say of any local commercial corridor anywhere – is only a reflection of the neighborhood in which it is located and how local residents, local entrepreneurs, and local property owners take responsibility in fostering a successful environment. Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, attend our Nothing But Networking events or business workshops, or email us with your thoughts and ideas. The point here is for all of us to establish a productive dialogue about the kind of economic environment we want to take shape here in Bed Stuy. Here’s a teaser: stay tuned for our resident/property owner/ broker focus group meetings and surveys – we’re looking forward to hearing, first-hand, what you have to say on this topic. Our success is your success. We look forward to our conversation. All my best, Doug Jones
How To Make The Most of Your City
cino machine, if she can make the case that it will improve the restaurant’s business. Michele McClymont spoke to the group about training and recruiting. “Finding the right employeed for a small business is like trying to fit someone into your family,” she said. Furthermore, most small businesses don’t have full-time HR, making it even harder to recruit new staff. “Small businesses need all hands on deck all the time,” McClymont pointed out. That makes it crucial to find the right employees, but it can be hard to find the time and resources to devote to the search for the right person to hire. BSC can help small businesses recruit: at no cost to the busiSunshine Home Healthcare Agency owner Joyce Bain and her partners are in the pro- ness, they can conduct targeted recruitment and initial resume review. They refer only cess of starting their business. those candidates who are a potential fit for costs; a more successful strategy, for ex- a business’s needs, and will even provide ample, would be a restaurant owner trying Continued on Page 5 to secure a short-term loan for a cappuc-
n March 23, 2012, staff from the New York City Business Solutions Center (BSC) gave a seminar for small business owners on accessing city resources. Some of the services that they can assist with are securing financing, employee recruitment, and legal assistance. For entrepreneurs looking for financing, BSC offers courses to get new business started: “You need a business plan before you come to us looking for financing,” said Yan Li Jiang, a financing specialist at BSC. “We have courses to help you develop a business plan. The expertise that BSC offers is tailored to suit individual entrepreneurs. “We go down deep and try to get the proper documents together,” says Jiang. “and I’ve helped nurture relationships with lenders.” Jiang stressed that explaining why a loan is necessary is a crucial part of the process. Lenders are often reluctant to give a loan to cover general overhead
New Trees on Fulton St.
rogress is continuing on the streetscape improvement project. Pavers have been laid in the amenity band (the band between the curb and the sidewalk, where trees, benches, trash cans, etc. are placed) from Troy to Nostrand on the north side of Fulton Street. That will continue until the pavers have been laid all the way to Bedford Avenue, at which point work will begin on the south side of the street. Planting season is also officially underway as of March 15, and landscapers have been planting new street trees on both sides of Fulton Street. The new trees are “skyline” honey locusts and “halka” Japanese zelkovas. Benches, trash cans, bike racks and muni (parking) meters will come later in the spring or over the summer. Marcy Plaza is also progressing, with one of two planters (the one closer to Fulton Street) already poured. The plaza, and the project as a whole, are scheduled to be completed by the end of August 2012. o
The Business of Trees
Shoppers claim that they will spend 9% to 12% more for goods and services in central business districts having high quality tree canopy. Shoppers indicate that they will travel greater distance and a longer time to visit a district having high quality trees, and spend more time there once they arrive.
Source: Wolf, K.L. 2005. Business District Streetscapes, Trees and Consumer Response. Journal of Forestry 103, 8:396-400.
Native New Yorker Puts Down Bicycle Roots
workshop in the store’s lower level). Levy lives in Bed-Stuy just a few blocks from the new store. She is a lifelong New Yorker, and her ties to central Brooklyn go back several generations. She is excited to be opening her store on Fulton Street. “It’s such a great thoroughfare,” she says. Her goal is to offer value and accessibility to her customers - her neighbors. One way she will do this is by being transportation-focused, as cycling is one of the lowest-cost transportation options available. Another way will be through outreach to local kids, through groups like Kids Ride Club (see sidebar). Levy will donate free complete bike setups (bike, helmet and lock) to interested schools and community groups that want to give them away as prizes to reward student achievement. She looks forward to reaching out to the community through Bicycle Roots. “This is my neighborhood, and I want to make it better,” Levy says. o
Bicycle Roots owner Nechama Levy and co-founder Mauricio Alvarez stand in their cavernous unfinished space. etting her feet run over by a garbage truck while biking one night got Nechama Levy thinking about opening a bike shop of her own. That initial thought is coming to fruition as Bicycle Roots, which will be New York City’s largest woman-owned bicycle store when it opens at 1078 Fulton Street in May or early June. “It’s not like it was a conscious decision that it was sign,” said Levy of the accident. “But I felt more empowered to take the risk. I figured things couldn’t get much worse than that night.” Soon afterward, she quit her position as a medical research assistant at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. When she could walk again, she started looking for a job as a bicycle mechanic, her true passion. Levy quickly found that she would need to get some credentials in order to break into the field. She enrolled in a three-week course in bike repair at the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, OR, and was willing to spend the first night of the program sleeping in a tent in a snowy campsite to achieve her dream (upon learning what she was doing, the owner of a local hostel was able to find room for her for the duration of the course). Upon returning to New York
City, Levy found her first mechanic job at Gotham Bikes. Her experience in that shop and and at several subsequent jobs helped shape her ideas
This is my neighborhood, and I want to make it better.
for Bicycle Roots. She told us a little about her vision for the store’s customer NYC Bike Share experience. “I want this Currently a Bike Share program to be a place where is being planned for Bed-Stuy. people can come and Head to the website to support ask questions about the Bike Share. cycling,” Levy said. Nyc.gov/bikeshare She wants the store to be a nexus of cycling information. Kids Ride Club Another customerBetween the ages of 9 and 18? focused touch will You can join the Kids RIde Club. be a while-you-wait An organization that places mechanic’s station just seasoned cyclists with inside the store’s front window. Customers will young riders. be able to watch and wait Contact Dr. Edward Fishkin for small repairs, which can at Woodhull Hospital be reassuring when a treasured 718.963.8569 bike is being worked on (there will also be a large, full-service
“ New Biker?
Local Cobbler is Good for the Sole
tion to the environmental virtues of repairing shoes, there are also economic benefits. Repairs cost just a fraction of the price of quality new shoes: Leviev says that a pair of shoes that will last will cost in the range of $125-175. Leviev has been surrounded by shoes since he can remember. His father had a shoe business in the Tashkent province of Uzbekistan, where Leviev was born. The family moved to Israel after Uzbekistan declared its independence, and then to United States when Leviev was 12 years old. Leviev started out in a pizza shop, but his father persuaded him to open a cobbler business after several years. His oldest son is looking to continue the business for another generation: interested in footwear design, he spends a lot of time in the shop learning the craft and the business. Customers often remain loyal to Fulton Cobbler even after they leave the neighborhood. “One customer moved to Queens,” he told us, “yet she collects her shoes all year long and then comes down to my shop with a garbage bag filled with shoes.” o
Gavriel Leviev of Fulton Cobbler has repaired footwear in Bed-Stuy for seventeen years. His family has been cobbling for three generation.
avriel Leviev of Fulton Cobbler (1519 Fulton Street) has been on Fulton Street in BedStuy for seventeen years. He has been in his current location near the Kingston-Throop C train stop for the last seven years; before that, he spent ten years across from Restoration Plaza. The shop offers a full line of repairs to soles, heels, uppers and zippers. He can do modifications, such as adjusting the calf fit of women’s boots. He will even create shoes from scratch if a customer wants them. They can be ready in as little as 2-3 days. He showed us a pair of loafers that he is currently working on as a pet project; the design is a blend of Louis Vuitton and Versace influences. The shoe repair business has changed drastically in the last few decades. Footwear manufacturing quality has generally gone down as more companies shift their operations to China. This leads to shoes that are of poorer quality, and thus more likely to need repair. However, stores will often offer incentives on the cheaper shoes, such as a free third pair with the purchase of two pairs at regular price. This is especially true of highvolume shoe stores in shopping malls. More shoes at a customer’s disposal
means fewer trips to the cobbler. Generational changes also affect the shoe repair business. Young people often wear flip-flops for much of the year, and switch to sneakers only when the weather turns cold. However, as he says, “The shoe repair business is the original green business. That’s one thing the young people like.” In addi-
“Shoe repair is the original green business.
One of Gavriel Leviev’s highest-priced items, these authentic crocodileand ostrich-skin shoes sell for $1200 plus tax.
Faces of Bed-Stuy: Numi Deodee
started. Some don't even realize that they can start and grow a profitable business. What are some things you would like to see in Bed-Stuy, and along Fulton Street in particular? I think we need educational resources and centers, places to train people in job skills, like customer service and computer literacy. And the places that are out there need to do better with outreach. There are so many people who could use those services who aren’t getting the word. Life-long Brooklynite Numi Deodee describes herself as “passionate about BedStuy.” Born in East New York, she has lived in Bed-Stuy almost continuously since the age of 13, with interruptions only to attend school. She has worked in government relations and community affairs for various non-profit organizations, and is currently launching her own marketing and communications business. We caught up with her to ask her to share her thoughts about the neighborhood. What are some of your childhood memories of Fulton Street? Fulton Street was where I’d go school shopping. You could get clothes, shoes, hair products, even get your nails done. I remember going to the African Street Festival at Boys and Girls High on Nostrand. That was a big deal - people really looked forward to it. It was a huge part of BedStuy. What did/does shopping on Fulton Street mean to you? It means being able to go into a store and not feel weird. There’s a sense of peace, because I’m in my own neighborhood. It’s still where I go for grocery and produce shopping. wonderful for natural beauty products. I also love Ms. Dahlia’s - it has good food and good ambiance. The windows make it very inviting from the outside. I realize that there’s a lot of new energy coming into the neighborhood. Artists are moving in; people from other parts of the world and other cultures are beginning to call Bed-Stuy home. Not everyone in the neighborhood is ready for the healthier restaurants and surely not everyone can afford it. People are accustomed to more economical, but unfortunately, less healthful food choices. I think education is going to be a big part of changing habits. My grandmother, who was from the South, was accustomed to growing food, and always having access to fresh food. My grandparents would take me out for nature walks and to produce markets. That was how I learned about fresh, healthful food. I would love to see more spaces for cultural events and community programming. That’s what is so special about Bed-Stuy, is the culture and the history. I definitely recommend going to the Weeksville Heritage Center for anyone who is passionate about this neighborhood and its history. (As we speak, a woman in a fur coat, hat, dress and heels walks by). That’s one of the things I love about this neighborhood - the style! I love seeing these glamorous older women in their church clothes. That to me is so Bed-Stuy. o
Continued from Page 1
space for interviews if necessary. Entrepreneurs who use BSC’s services save an average of $720 per person hired. In 2010, BSC helped over 4,000 businesses hire more than 17,000 employees.
BSC has worked with local businesses including Melanie’s, Peaches, Therapy Wine Bar and Buffalo Boss. “We currently help a lot of restaurants, What do you think about some of the but we can help any type of business,” new businesses that have opened up says McClymont. “Restaurants just haprecently, particularly on Lewis Avenue, There are so many opportunities now to pen to have faster employee turnover.” or closer to Clinton Hill along Fulton make Bed-Stuy thrive for its residents. Joyce Bain of Sunshine Home HealthStreet? But there is also a fear that our dreams care Agency, who attended the semiand ideas won’t be supported, because of nar, was pleased with the information Well, I love shopping at the Little Red the events that have occurred in the past. presented in the seminar. “Most of our Boutique on Lewis Avenue! It’s a splurge, Some people are intimidated and doubt leads [on prospective employees] come but the boutique carries some really nice that they will get the support or funding from hospitals, mostly through word of clothing items. N’Diya on Nostrand is that they need in order to get a business mouth,” she said. “This was an excellent workshop. It covered a lot of informaIs your neighbor an outstanding Bedford-Stuyvesant citizen? Submit a short description to firstname.lastname@example.org, and maybe we will feature him or her in the next Faces of Bed-Stuy. tion we’ll need to make our business thrive.” o
An Aging Improvement District
& education, economy and safety. CIBS’ next aim is to identify agefriendly businesses within BedfordStuyvesant. They have identified six criteria for determining age-friendliness (see sidebar). They have teamed up with the Brownstoners of Bedford Stuyvesant, Inc., to produce a directory of age-friendly businesses and services. Being an age-friendly business is about more than being a good citizen: it is a pragmatic business move. Like other industrialized nations, the United States has an aging population. This population is not only predicted to be a growing demographic, but an increasingly affluent one (see sidebar). Businesses that become age-friendly are planning for the future. Questions about becoming an age-friendly business? Email email@example.com or call 718.636.6910. o
he Age-Friendly New York campaign, a partnership of the Mayor’s Office on Aging, the New York City Council, and the New York Academy of Medicine, has launched its third Aging Improvement District in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The project is being led locally by the Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford Stuyvesant (CIBS). Aging Improvement Districts are projects that bring together community development, faith-based, senior citizen and other stakeholder groups to discover the challenges and barriers to the neighborhood’s elderly population. They then seek low- or no-cost solutions to these problems. To date, CIBS has led conversations with Community Board 3, the YMCA, and a number of senior groups, from which eight distinct target areas have emerged: banking, housing, healthy foods, infrastructure, recreation & culture, advocacy
Criteria For Being An Age Friendly Business
Senior discounts Delivery Access (wider aisles, easily reachable shelves) Willingness to hire older adults Providing a welcoming and safe environment Providing personal shoppers
By 2030, 20% of the world’s population will be over the age of 60 In 2010, the Federal Reserve estimated that older adults spend $1 trillion more than younger shoppers
t is probably not an exaggeration to say that most people under the age of 30 start with social media to find goods and services. Whether it is reading yelp.com reviews of a medical practice or checking into a favorite cafe on their foursquare smartphone app, young people are reliant on social media, and often oblivious to traditional forms of marketing. When they are in an unfamiliar area, or are just looking for a new place to eat, they will pull out their smartphones to look for nearby restaurants. If a restaurant is not on yelp.com, young people just might not find it. The BID strongly encourages all district businesses, and restaurants in particular, to become familiar with
Importance of Social Media
the power of yelp, foursquare, and other social media. While customers can review a business without the owner’s permission or knowledge, becoming an active user of yelp allows an owner to engage with reviewers, keep the business’s information up to date, and view aggregate data about yelp users who are reading reviews (much of this also applies to foursquare). We will be holding a workshop in July to cover the basics of social media, but in the meantime, business owners are welcome to call us at 718.636.6910 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about these tools. We will be happy to set up a one-on-one meeting. o
Calendar of Events
19th 6-8pm Nothing by Networking Flowerworks (547 Nostrand Ave.) 20th 1:00-3:30 pm Small Business Workshop Financing Workshop Bed-Stuy Restoration (1368 Fulton St.) 24th 6:30-8:00 pm Wealth Building Tuesdays Restoration Plaza (1368 Fulton St.) 28th 1:00-3:00 pm Free Tree Giveaway Restoration Plaza (1368 Fulton St.) Bring ID for Registration. Come Early! 17th 6:30-8:30pm Nothing by Networking Carver Bank (1392 Fulton Street.) The Date is TBD (Check Our Blog) Small Business Workshop Accessing State Resources Bed-Stuy Restoration (1368 Fulton St.)
2nd 9:00 am - 3:00 pm Rolling Up The Gates Location TBD (Check Our Blog) RSVP Required - Email email@example.com Tentative: 21st 6-8pm Nothing by Networking Applebee’s (1392 Fulton Street) The Date is TBD (Check Our Blog) Town Hall Meeting NYPD Safty Seminar Bed-Stuy Restoration (1360 Fulton St.)
Dates are subject to change. Visit our blog for any changes. Bedstuygateway.wordpress.com
Director, Public Safety and Environmental Control
Public Safety and Environmental Control Officer
Commercial Revitalization Assistant
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