By Bill Parry
Sunnyside takes Small Business Saturday very seriously.
Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer, of the city Department of Small Business Services, held a roundtable discussion with neighborhood business leaders last week at Los Verdes, a restaurant at 46-26 Greenpoint Ave.
Sunnyside Shines, the area’s Business Improvement District, plans a kick-off event for Small Business Saturday at noon on Bliss Plaza at 46th Street and Queens Boulevard. The BID will have the official release of its first-ever Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide in partnership with photography students from LaGuardia Community College. The full-color brochure features gift ideas from 22 neighborhood stores with over 35,000 copies printed this month.
“Resources like the Sunnyside Shines Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide are creative, important tools to help promote local business and engage residents as they start shopping for the holiday season,” Torres-Springer said at the Nov. 20 talk. “We look forward to continue working with Sunnyside Shines to strengthen local businesses and support this dynamic Queens neighborhood.”
More than 18,000 of the guides were mailed to area residents this week and the remainder will be handed out during the kick-off event.
“I am delighted that the BID has produced a holiday gift guide to promote local businesses like mine in the neighborhood,” Bing’s Hallmark owner Czarrina Andres said. “Every bit of publicity helps local business. Launching the gift guide on Small Business Saturday is a perfect way to make the community more aware of the importance of shopping locally.”
In addition, Sunnyside Shines will again sponsor a holiday window photo contest to encourage area stores to decorate their windows for the holidays. That is combined with the decorations the BID puts up along Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue to make the district more inviting to holiday shoppers.
“Sunnysiders understand the importance of shopping locally, but we wanted to make it even easier by publishing the gift guide and promoting local business on Small Business Saturday,” Sunnyside Shines Executive Director Rachel Thieme said. The kick-off event begins at noon this Saturday with free giveaways, live music and further distribution of the gift guides.
Two classes at LaGuardia Community College contributed research and design ideas along with the photography for the project. Hector Fernandez and Nicole Lytle of the Business & Technology Department at the school called it a valuable collaborative effort between faculty, students and the BID.
“Students learned a great deal about small business needs, working efficiently on short timelines, and the importance of effective communication with several parties — experience that will carry them into their business careers,” they said.