BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Bars, restaurants and other shops on Bedford Avenue are throwing a festival this month to kick off a new merchants association representing businesses on the rapidly-developing Bed-Stuy commercial corridor.
The Bedford Avenue Merchants Association, working with Bridge Street Development Corporation, is a collection of storefronts on Bedford Avenue designed to give businesses a say in the street's development.
The association comes at a time when the demographics in Bedford-Stuyvesant have begun to change and real estate prices have skyrocketed, especially in the western end of the district.
As the corridor changes, the merchants association can give businesses more of a stake, specifically in terms of "business diversity and quality of services," BSDC Director of Economic Development Ken Mbonu said.
“It is important that the merchants on Bedford Avenue have a say as a collective," Mbonu said in a statement. "The Bedford Avenue Merchants Association gives our Merchants that voice.”
Separate from another merchants association that previously held the same name in Williamsburg, the Bedford Avenue Merchants Association is the first such organization on the stretch of Bedford Avenue in Bed-Stuy.
The group features established Bedford Avenue businesses like McMickel Grocery at 1169 Bedford Ave. alongside newer businesses like Dynaco, a bar opened earlier this year by two brothers at 1112 Bedford Ave.
The July 28 festival, at the Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA, will feature music and vendor tents for shops like Pipsqueak Children's Shoppe at 1124 Bedford Ave. and Miss Master's Closet Vintage Clothing at 1070 Bedford Ave., while kids can enjoy face painting and arts and crafts.
The Bedford Avenue Merchants' Meet and Greet is free on July 28, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., at the Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA, 1121 Bedford Ave. Click here for a full list of participating merchants.