Too many storefronts on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale are vacant, and the glut of empty shops poses a challenge for those business owners hoping to bring a new Business Improvement District (BID) to the strip.
Business owners came together at Mahalo New York Bakery on Friday morning to re-envision Myrtle Avenue with things they would like to see come to the area to make it a more desirable destination for businesses and shoppers alike with $400,000 in Department of Transportation (DOT) funds, made available by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley. One of the problems discovered with Myrtle Avenue in Glendale is an abundance of empty storefronts.
According to an April survey conducted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce, there are “close to 40” empty stores on Myrtle Avenue between Cypress Hills and 71st streets. That number also reflects locations that are currently for rent or for lease.
After the recent scandal involving illegal massage parlors along Myrtle Avenue, some residents feel it is paramount that such businesses do not return to these empty storefronts.
“I would like to see all the storefronts that are for lease or for rent actually occupied by legitimate businesses that are going to improve our neighborhood in this area and bring legitimate business to your businesses,” said Kerry McAdams, a local resident who fought against the illegal massage parlors. “So I would really like to see Myrtle Avenue beautified. I think it would be a great thing.”
One reason that so many stores are vacant or for rent or lease is the economy.
“The economy is low. The economy is affecting small business owners and regulations, I think are the main issues,” said Jacqueline Donado, strategic program coordinator for the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “Another thing is a lot of landlords don’t want to bother with tenants so they don’t rent out.”
In order to fill these vacant stores, the chamber holds fairs and networking events to get business owners information on the corridor. They also hold social media seminars to help businesses create clean Facebook pages to help promote their businesses for free to a wide audience and how to make money on the internet with a low marketing budget.
“The chamber also gets inquires of what’s available, they ask for specific neighborhoods and we recommend the neighborhoods that there is availability for them,” said Sophia Ganosis, chief of operations for the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “We do promote it because that’s part of having the businesses grow and prosper, and the neighborhoods as well.”
Although the Glendale section of Myrtle Avenue has some problems, there are things being done to better the area, including the creation of two pedestrian plazas at Myrtle and Cooper avenues, and Cooper Avenue and 71st Street.
Making a BID for Myrtle Avenue in Glendale is in the very beginning stages, but these projects could spark interest from business owners to come together to form one sooner rather than later.