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Community leaders launch Flushing business survey

By Madina Toure

Flushing community leaders have teamed up with the city to conduct a comprehensive survey of businesses in the area.

The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, the Flushing Business Improvement District and the city Department of Small Business Services announced the launch at a news conference March 7.

The survey, which is part of the Flushing Commercial District Needs Assessment—a collaboration between the three organizations—will focus on downtown commercial corridors and businesses along Main Street, Roosevelt Avenue, Union Street, Northern Boulevard, 39th Avenue and College Point Boulevard.

John Choe, the Flushing Chamber’s executive director, said the data will be critical for making a case to Mayor Bill de Blasio about the need for more services in the area.

“We wanted to make sure that action is what follows up with the survey,” Choe told the launch at the chamber headquarters at 39-01 Main St.

Dian Yu, Flushing BID’s executive director, said the survey is a step in the right direction.

“Even though we have limited resources, we went for it because this is an important survey,” Yu said.

Cindy Cheung, the project manager of the small business agency, said the factors to be examined include the area’s demographics, small business conditions, market retail analyses, physical environment and other economic development indicators.

“What the survey is is an opportunity for the business owner to share their perspective and share their experience to us so that we will be able to better invest in the future of this neighborhood,” Cheung said.

The Flushing Chamber will be visiting and speaking with merchants and business owners in the area between March and April to collect survey responses.

Surveys will be conducted in person and are also available online via https://bit.ly/flushingbizsurvey in English, Chinese, Korean and Spanish.

The Flushing Chamber and the Flushing BID will aggregate survey results and report key findings.

City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) said rent has tripled in downtown Flushing over the last 30 years and urged the city to halt the escalation of commercial taxes.

“Main Street downtown is really crowded,” Koo said. “It’s almost like 42nd Street (Manhattan), so we need a lot of services.”

Peter Tu, executive director of the Flushing Chinese Business Association, said the community is supporting Cheung because she is an Asian representative at SBS and told her to tell her bosses what the community needs.

“Go back (and) tell your boss here is a different world,” Tu said. “Here is the Asian community. Every single business doing differently.”

Ikhwan Rim, president of the Union Street Small Business Association, urged the city to educate businesses about rules and regulations.

“Don’t give a fine, give a warning first,” Rim said.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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