‘All about community’: Downtown Jamaica welcomes new businesses to commercial corridor

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards leads a parade celebrating new businesses that have opened along Jamaica Avenue despite the COVID-19 pandemic.(Photo by Nat Valentine)

In an economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw more than 1,000 businesses close across Queens, Friday, Feb. 12, offered a moment to celebrate a reversal of that trend in Jamaica.

Borough President Donovan Richards and the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District led a parade with a brass band down Jamaica Avenue on a multi-business ribbon-cutting event Friday to welcome half a dozen businesses that opened during one of the most challenging years for retail in modern history.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, and that is especially true in Jamaica. The Jamaica Center BID does incredible work uplifting our local entrepreneurs and encouraging local hiring — critical work we aim to build upon through initiatives like the Queens Small Business Grant Program,” Richards said. “The challenges we face are immense, but working with local partners, we will stop at nothing to ensure our small businesses have the resources they need to not just survive, but thrive.”

The parade began in the front of a new Dunkin’ Donuts at 163-18 Jamaica Ave. with opening remarks and a traditional ribbon-cutting led by Richards before setting off to welcome the other new businesses.

“Downtown Jamaica is all about community, and when you join our business community, we are going to support you, in the best of times and in the most challenging times,” Jamaica Center BID Executive Director Jennifer Furioli said. “We’re excited to acknowledge those businesses that have chosen to invest in our downtown. This warm welcome is just the first of many touch points these businesses can expect to receive from our organization and the broader community.”

 The Underground Horns brass band played in front of each new store with separate ribbon-cuttings at MA Perfume at 165-12 Jamaica Ave., European Wax Center and Diamond Braces at 166-16 Jamaica Ave., and at the new restaurant Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood and Bar at 161-21 Jamaica Ave.

Photo by Nat Valentine
Photo by Nat Valentine

“We are so excited to have indoor dining at Hook & Reel return in time for Valentine’s Day,” owner Wendy He said. “We’re also now operating a full bar for our customers.”

Monica Chawla, the owner of MA Perfume, took the opportunity to offer a special promotion to customers.

‘We look forward to building our perfume and cologne clientele on Jamaica Avenue with great prices, trust and convenience with the support of all our loyal customers,” Chawla said. “We will have a sale on all perfume and cologne gift sets as well as 50 percent off all select fragrances.”

Diamond Braces manager Denis Zubov added his sales pitch.

“Diamond Braces is happy to be in downtown Jamaica,” Zubov said. “We take all insurance, and we offer a complimentary consultation on your first visit. We look forward to serving you.”

Photo by Nat Valentine
Photo by Nat Valentine

To learn more about the Jamaica Center BID and stay up-to-date on all happenings on Jamaica Avenue, visit their website here.

“This is the first time we’ve done a ribbon-cutting parade like this on Jamaica Avenue from our BID and it was a big hit,” Jamaica Center BID Director of Marketing and Business Services Trey Jenkins said. “We had a nice turnout from elected officials and it seemed like the businesses we featured appreciated the love which is fitting with Valentine’s Day coming up on Sunday.”

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