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The Jamaica Hills Merchants Association is looking to become a resource for local business owners in Jamaica Hills.

BY ANGELA MATUA

Businesses in Jamaica Hills have gained new advocates in the Jamaica Hills Merchants Association, a new group formed through the efforts of Councilman Rory Lancman and the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

The association will advocate for businesses located specifically on Hillside Avenue between Parsons Boulevard and 172nd Street. Lancman secured a $10,000 grant toward the endeavor.

The group will act as a resource for businesses looking to navigate the regulatory structure in New York City and will also connect them with programs like the Department of Small Businesses’ “Small Business First Initiative,” which fosters “cross-agency collaboration to simplify rules and compliance processes,” according to nyc.gov.

Business owners will also be educated on the financing options available through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“The Jamaica Hills Merchants Association will organize and advocate for the vibrant businesses in this area,” Lancman said. “Their efforts will make this community a more lively and engaging environment for consumers, residents and business owners.”

The purpose of the association is not only to promote local businesses but also to “improve the appearance, safety, vitality and customer appeal of the area,” according to a press release. Business owners, property owners and residents will work with local leaders and city agencies to enhance public safety, sanitation and traffic.

Exit Alliance Realty, located on Hillside Avenue, has been serving the Jamaica community for almost 16 years. Broker Azahar Haque said the company has always thought about creating some kind of business association, especially since the area has recently experienced a surging growth along Hillside Avenue.

“As we have been doing business over 16 years with this community, we always felt the necessity of some sort of business organization that will only focus to this community for finding its needs, changes and some issues that [occur] on a daily basis,” Haque said. “Tons of businesses are taking over or growing and even in some cases outgrowing due to popular demand and [we are experiencing] one of the biggest traffic around the city that moves around through this area.”

Haque said he hopes this association fosters a community of business owners who are from the Jamaica area and said Exit Alliance will work to keep the community safe and clean. The company is now working with the Department of Sanitation to add more garbage bins on Hillside Avenue to give patrons more options for trash removal.

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