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City Launches Program to Help Bolster Small Businesses in East Harlem

By Dartunorro Clark | October 31, 2016 9:23am
 Domingo Fernandez, owner of Midtown Fish & Meat Market on E. 116th Street.
Domingo Fernandez, owner of Midtown Fish & Meat Market on E. 116th Street.
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DNAinfo/Jeff Mays

HARLEM — Filling East Harlem’s vacant storefronts, adding healthier food options and giving marketing support to local businesses could be the boost the neighborhood needs.

The city’s Department of Small Business Services unveiled a program Thursday called Neighborhood 360 to target troubled commercial corridors in six city neighborhoods with customized plans and $3 million in grants to give each an economic boost.

The agency studied East Harlem, for instance, and found out that there are 778 storefronts in the neighborhood, but 110 — about 14 percent — are vacant. Additionally, many of the area businesses, more than 80 percent, rent space and find it hard to attract customers.

The targeted grants, according to the agency, could help put more money into the commercial areas of the neighborhood and help revitalize certain areas.

Other areas include Downtown Flushing, East New York, Inwood, Jerome Avenue in the Bronx and parts of Staten Island's North Shore.

In the six areas, community-based organizations can apply for up to $500,000 per year in grants to fund projects that address district needs for commercial businesses. 

“Small businesses are the backbone of neighborhoods across New York City and the partnership… will identify challenges facing commercial corridors and provide grant money to achieve real solutions,” said Gregg Bishop, the SBS commissioner.