By: Hadassa Kalatizadeh
New York City has suffered from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdowns. Countless restaurants, bars, shops, businesses and venues have been forced to close their doors for good. The damage, however, is not irreparable. New York is known for its resilience and savvy New Yorkers are already looking ahead to what will replace those empty storefronts.
“Business development in the city is the busiest it has been since last March,” said Dan Clark of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Moreover, many New Yorkers who fled NYC when the pandemic began are now herding back home, as per cellphone data tracked by the city. As per a recent article in the NY Post, the timing is ripe for a turnaround and the economic conditions for opening new businesses are better than they had been following previous downturns. “There are obvious, clear reasons to start a New York business right now, such as lower rent, better real-estate availability and an abundance of potential employees,” said Tom Scarda, CEO of the Franchise Academy. “The big difference I have noticed between the great pandemic of 2020 to 2021 and the Great Recession of 2008 to 2010 is that now there is money available to open a business,” said Scarda. “In some cases, banks are throwing money at leading-edge entrepreneurs who are starting something new.”
The founders of 29 Monroe dared to open two bar/restaurants during the pandemic. Partners Joe Attanasio, Ryan Levan, Cam Schur and James Aaron opened the Orchard Room and Writing on the Wall in the Lower East Side last month. “From an opportunity standpoint it’s a great time to get started,” said Attanasio. The partners told the NY Post that they negotiated great leases and found many talented, experienced professionals to fill their 50 open positions.
To help budding entrepreneurs, the New York Small Business Development Center is offering free one-on-one business advisory assistance, training programs and market research. Similarly, the Department of Small Business Services offers free help for business planning, financing, marketing and more. The city also is also providing free events and courses to help business build their own Web site, learn QuickBooks, and it is offering free legal consultations and mentor sessions via Eventbrite.
People looking to start a business can also contact the US Small Business Administration for financial assistance. It has a debt relief program covering the cost of principal and interest payments for six months or more. More info can be found at www.PaceSBDC.org.