Downtown Flushing bristles with businesses. Yet for all its economic activity, the area doesn’t have a Chamber of Commerce to advocate for the businesses’ needs in government. But that’s about to change.
John Choe is the executive director for the new Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. The organization is being put together and Choe plans on having a launch party for the organization in December.
“The chamber will look at making sure we not only have policies that benefit businesses,” Choe said, “but we also get the same level of attention that reflects the level of economic taxes that we generate for the government.”
Flushing’s previous chamber of commerce dissolved in 2012 after 80 years of operation, according to earlier reports. The previous organization, the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, began to recede in importance as a new wave of Asian immigrants moved to the area, bringing with them their own business groups.
Choe is hoping to not share his predecessor’s fate by bringing the various business interest groups under one flag and “creating a multicultural chamber at its core.”
“We want to create a chamber of commerce that will reflect the diversity of the greater Flushing area,” he said.
The area’s business groups include the Flushing Business Improvement District, Korean American Small Business Service Center of New York, Flushing Chinese Business Association, Taiwan Merchants Association, One Flushing and the Flushing Development Center.
“It’s a complicated task,” Choe said.
News of the chamber’s creation was welcomed by many in the community.
“The creation of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce is a good idea because it will help small business owners by providing them with a resource that is dedicated to expanding their business opportunities and financial growth,” Councilman Peter Koo said. “We are still living in a climate of overregulation that remains challenging for many small business owners, so the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce will be a welcomed addition to the diverse business community here.”
Dian Yu, executive director of the Flushing Business Improvement District, said that his organization would be willing to work with Choe and the chamber.
“Anybody who is willing to pitch in for the Flushing community is always a good thing,” Yu said. “We work with everybody. We welcome everybody to fight for the community.”