By Connor Adams Sheets
Flushing Business Improvement District’s founding executive director, Mabel Law, unexpectedly announced at the group’s Thursday meeting that she was stepping down from her post.
Having been one of the most visible faces in Flushing’s business community since the BID’s founding in 2003, she has served as an advocate and resource for business owners and residents, but said she believes it is time for her to move on.
“We’ve come a long way. We’re a small BID with ï»¿great responsibility,ï»¿ that’s how I’ve always seen it,” she said, before choking back tears to make the announcement. “I, too, will be moving on. I think that I served the district well for the last seven years.”
Even the BID’s chairman, James Gerson, said he was surprised by the news and a number of board members and business leaders implored her not to leave her directorship.
“We’ve had quite a shock from Mabel,” Gerson said. “She won’t be easily replaced at all.”
But Law rebuffed the pleas, saying that despite abdicating her post she will still work on behalf of Flushing residents. She did not give a reason for her departure. Gerson said that due to the suddenness of the announcement, the group has not looked for someone to replace her.
“I will help our BID find the next director,” Law said. “It will be a smooth transition.”
The BID’s members spent most of the meeting, before receiving Law’s news, thanking members and those who support their mission in addition to attending to the group’s business.
The group elected a slate of property owners, commercial tenants/business owners and residential tenants/owners to its board of directors with little discussion. The new crop represents a wide range of Flushing interests and include a number of longtime members.
The event was also a chance to honor former City Councilman John Liu, who helped found the BID and served as the night’s keynote speaker.
“This business improvement district has been an integral part of the revitalization of Flushing,” Liu said. “The amount of enthusiasm and ideas generated by the Flushing Business Improvement District is unparalleled by any other BID in the city.”
Earlier on in the evening, Liu’s successor, Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing), gave his thoughts on the BID, a group with which he is intimately familiar as its longtime Program Services Committee chairman and CEO and president of the local mainstay Starside Pharmacy chain.
“The business improvement district is vital to the businesses here,” Koo said. “We have to cooperate and work together to complete our mission. Our mission is to ensure downtown Flushing … is a good place to do business.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.