Archive for the tag 'small business congress'

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Local New York City-based Congressional Representatives are banding together to urge FEMA to extend the deadline for small businesses affected by Superstorm Sandy to apply for disaster aid. A joint letter to FEMA, cosigned by nearly a dozen Congressional Representatives, argues that the deadline, currently set at December 31, is too soon and should be pushed back until May 1, 2013 so small businesses can accurately assess the damages wrought upon their livelihoods.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who represents Coney Island, Bensonhurst, and Borough Park, was among those that signed the letter, wrote:

Hurricane Sandy displaced tens of thousands of New Yorkers and shuttered or destroyed thousands of businesses. Despite the tireless work by so many to rebuild and get business and life back to normal, we are still a long way off.  Our constituents and businesses still need time to regroup and rebuild and, as such, we are asking FEMA to extend the deadline for small business claims to May 1 to give them a real opportunity to get what they need and deserve.

Thus far, FEMA has already paid out $745 million to individuals and families since the advent of Sandy, with $152.1 million earmarked for Kings County alone, while the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), has approved $85.5 million in loans for  businesses, renters, and homeowners. For more information on assistance, you can send an email to, visit, or call the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center toll-free number 800-659-2955 (TTY (for hearing impaired) 800-877-8339.)

Courtesy of Koonisutra via Flickr

New York Magazine has put together a nice roundup of bribes donations Walmart has made around the city, as it attempts to cobble support together for its push to have a Brooklyn location (presumably, the Gateway Shopping Center in East New York). The big-box retailer has faced no shortage of opposition from local pols, labor advocates and small business lobbyists – which it appears it’s attempting to fend off by purchasing some goodwill.

The magazine says Walmart has given $13 million in charitable giving in New York since 2007, including $4 million towards a pet project of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and $150,000 to one of Marty Markowitz’s summer concert series.

The donations are already having an effect. Markowitz, for example, went from stating “strong opposition” to a Brooklyn Walmart in 2009 – citing their “questionable labor practices” – to saying he is not opposed to a Walmart in 2011.

New York Magazine also lists donations of $812,500 for an experimental program serving at-risk middle schoolers; $382,879 for the Food Bank for New York City; and $100,000 for restoring 25 acres of tidal wetlands in Jamaica Bay.

There’s no doubt that any number of these programs need the funding and are to the public’s betterment. But, regardless of whether you’re for or against Walmart, is it right that they can sway political support by contributing to politicians’ pet programs?

Courtesy of Koonisutra via Flickr

Bay Improvement Group President Steve Barrison took to the Daily News yesterday, with an editorial bashing the big P.R. push to bring Walmart to New York City.

What does Walmart have to do with improving the Bay, you ask? Well, Barrison is also the executive vice president of the Small Business Congress of New York City, a federation of more than 75 small-business associations advocating for the rights of small enterprises across the five boroughs. And they have no love for the “Wal-monster.”

It’s also not Barrison’s first editorial against the nation’s largest retailer. He previously slammed environmentalists and the city’s transportation experts on Sheepshead Bites for not lending voice to the fight, saying that a Walmart would bring additional traffic, congestion and pollution to the area around the Gateway Shopping Center in East New York, where observers agree a Walmart is most likely to land.

In his latest editorial, Barrison touts a slew of studies revealing how Walmart can devastate local economies in big cities, and also stands up for New York City’s small businesses – the best incubator for economic advancement of women and minorities.

Here’s an excerpt:

Chicago‘s struggling West Side learned the hard way that Walmart’s stores destroy more retail jobs than they create.

In 2006, the big-box retailer promised to bring jobs to the cash-strapped community. But according to a landmark study by Loyola University, the company’s rhetoric didn’t match reality: Within two years of Walmart’s opening its doors, 82 local stores went out of business.

Instead of growing Chicago’s retail economy, Walmart simply overtook it – absorbing sales from other city stores, and shuttering dozens of them in the process.

Researchers at Loyola dubbed Walmart’s store a wash – generating no new sales revenue for Chicago, and no new jobs for hard-off residents.

… With due respect to Walmart, this is not the kind of economic development neighborhood small businesses need.

Everywhere you look in New York, mom-and-pop shops help anchor our busiest and most vibrant business districts.

Fordham Road in the Bronx, Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn, Jamaica Blvd. in Queens, 125th St. in Manhattan, and Forest Ave. on Staten Island are thriving proof that our city’s small businesses are the engine that powers New York City’s economy.

For minorities and women business owners in particular, New York City is an incubator for the American Dream. A third of all businesses here are owned by women, and nearly 18% are owned by African-Americans and Hispanics – both above the national averages.

But that could easily change.

… Home-grown entrepreneurs and small mom-and-pops have proven their commitment to our neighborhoods time and time again. Instead of falling for the big-box swindle and supporting their out of town competition, let’s stand by our neighborhood stores, and create more good jobs.

The only studies that support Big Wally are funded by or through Walmart; kind of like the tobacco companies’ support for cigarettes. New Yorkers deserves better. Our communities and neighborhoods deserve better.

You can read the full editorial here.



Been wondering what’s up with the Brooklyn Walmart proposed for the Gateway II Center? Us too, but in reality there’s been very little headway in either direction. Walmart, though, did make an attempt to spread some money around: they gave at least $15,000 to State Senate Democrats, whose campaign committee is led by Senator John Sampson who represents the proposed development area. Union leaders balked, and successfully pressured the Dems to return the money to Walmart.

Now, Steve Barrison – president of the Bay Improvement Group and executive vice president of the Small Business Congress of New York City – has issued a statement demanding more vocal opposition from “greenies,” including DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Read Steve Barrison’s statement about a proposed Brooklyn Walmart at Gateway II after the jump.

The following is an open letter from Steve Barrison to Borough President Marty Markowitz. Barrison is the president of Bay Improvement Group and executive vice president of the Small Business Congress of New York City. In the letter he criticizes the city for taking us in the wrong direction on congestion, and says we need to plan for more vehicles on the city’s roadways.



We now have bike lanes to handle estimated 1.5 – 2 million bikers! YET, we only have about 3,000 in the winter and we grow to 8,000 – 12,000 in nice weather and peak at 25,000 once or twice a year for special events….we won’t have 1.5 or 2 million bikers for many lifetimes, if ever!

We have over 850,000 vehicles a day that are part of NYC’s economic engine too, whether for small business, business owners, deliveries of good and services, health care, elderly, handicapped, children and those that aren’t well served by mass transit or that a vehicle is simple needed.

The reduction of travel lanes is causing more congestion, more back ups, making traffic movement impossible and yes, causing more pollution! Vehicles flowing give off much less pollutants than when stopped in traffic. Oh yea, and by the way Times Square is supposed to be chaotic, crowded, crazy and have a mix of everything, that is what is expected there at the ‘Crossroads of the World!” not some sprawling mass of tourists spilling out all over and hanging out on chairs and benches squeezing vehicles into bottle necks ands causing New Yorkers to just avoid it all together.

Keep reading Barrison’s letter to Marty Markowitz