By Patrick Donachie
The Jamaica Hills Partnership celebrated the establishment of a new website to help business and homeowners around Hillside Avenue collaborate, as well as to help visitors to the area learn more about local merchants.
The partnership celebrated the website during a meeting at the Star Kabab and Chinese Restaurant at 168-21 Hillside Ave. Community leaders, members of the partnership, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation Board Chairman Peter Kulka and Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) attended the event.
“The website is for the use of businesses on Hillside Avenue,” Lancman said during the meeting. “It’s also for the benefit of people shopping in the community.”
The partnership started about a year-and-a-half ago with a few business owners on Hillside Avenue, according to Azahar Haque, owner of local business Exit Alliance Realty and a member of the partnership. The group was originally called the Jamaica Hills Merchant Association but changed the name to help attract interest from homeowners in the area, he said. He said attendance was slowly creeping upward.
“It used to be very bad, but it’s improved,” he said, noting that more homeowners started attending meetings when representatives from the city Departments of Sanitation and Transportation attended. He wanted to procure more brochures that would include a full listing of businesses in the partnership.
The partnership includes a large number of immigrant merchants—including many from Bangladesh—and the span of the partnership runs from 172nd Street to Parsons Boulevard, from Hillside Avenue to Union Turnpike.
The website can be viewed in either English or Bengali, and includes a full searchable business directory, information on upcoming events and tips for business owners on negotiating city mandates and regulations, including how business owners can prepare for an inspection from the Department for Consumer Affairs.
Haque said he intended for the partnership to hold more consistent monthly meetings and expressed hope that the new website would increase interest and attendance among local business owners.
“Hillside Avenue is a thriving business corridor filled with exactly the kind of businesses that people love to brag about,” Lancman said. “We want to make sure this community and its interests are expressed in city government.”
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona