By Madina Toure
The city Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce started conducting a short survey of small retail businesses in downtown Flushing.
The EDC is working with the chamber to target independently owned retail operations with fewer than 20 employees from the Flushing waterfront to Union Street and Northern Boulevard to Sanford Avenue. The survey, which kicked off Sept. 21 and will conclude Oct. 2, will ask questions about the presence of each business in the area, the services it offers and the ways in which business owners want to receive technical assistance from the city government.
“The small businesses in Flushing are cornerstones of their community, and the city is committed to helping talented entrepreneurs and small business owners in the area thrive,” Christopher Carroll, an EDC spokesman, said.
The chamber will conduct outreach to businesses. Consulting firm Karp Resources will administer the survey by visiting local businesses. The survey, which will be available in paper form and on the iPad, will be given out in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Korean.
John Choe, the chamber’s executive director, said the chamber has been advocating more active engagement by city agencies to help it better target resources and support small businesses in Flushing.
Some of the factors that have motivated the chamber to conduct the survey include ensuring that the Flushing waterfront redevelopment project does not eliminate small businesses, encouraging the EDC to start incubators to foster start-ups and requiring commercial spaces to support small businesses in th e area.
“The EDC has stepped up and they’re going to be doing a very narrow survey of retail establishments, so these could include restaurants, bakeries, anything with a storefront that’s selling things and we’re going to try and make the survey population as diverse as possible,” Choe said.
The first phase, which will run for about two to three weeks, will include about 25 businesses. If further data is required, there may be additional surveys.
Choe said they would start by looking at some businesses that have a chamber membership and would be open to speaking with government officials. Representatives from the EDC and the chamber would meet with the business owner or manager, walk through the survey with them and help them fill it out.
The chamber is also working with the city Department of Small Business Services to roll out a larger, more comprehensive survey of the business community. It has not yet been scheduled.
“Our belief is that the more data and information that city agencies and people at City Hall have, the better the policies and regulations and programs will be when they’re targeted toward small businesses, because the chamber strongly believes that small businesses are the engine of our local economy,” Choe said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour