Helping Small Businesses to Restore Signage

Many sign-less storefronts on Union Street in Flushing. (Google maps photo via QNS)

In recent months businesses along Union Street in Flushing, in Bay Ridge and Bushwick in Brooklyn and elsewhere stripped their businesses of signs and awnings, fearful that the city’s Buildings Department would continue assessing hefty fines for signage deemed inappropriate. The Awnings Act passed by the New York City Council on Jan. 9 promised relief to shopowners and small business owners by imposing a two-year moratorium on the imposition of such fines, rescinding fines already imposed, and offering a discount on permit fees for replacing signs. Now the Asian American Federation has stepped up to help promote a signage replacement program, reports Carlotta Mohamed in QNS.

Funds for business owners to replace their store signs will be secured by City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to assist merchants.

“We have been working with the EDC to identify the most effective assistance for the merchants that can remain a legacy long after our small business assistance program ends,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of AAF. “Many of the business owners are struggling to keep afloat, and they have told us that it is impossible to come up with the $8,000-$10,000 to pay for the new signs. By subsidizing a good chunk of the costs, we are proud to give the merchants a financial breather, and take away from their worries.”

AAF’s plans for the new signs include a standard look for commercial signs on Union Street to give it a unique character that draws shoppers back to the neighborhood. The new signage is expected to be installed in three to five months.

Go to QNS to find out what the plans are for the interim.

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