Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert Walsh today dedicated a plaque in honor of former City Council Member Una S.T. Clarke at the recently-renovated Flatbush Caton Market in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. The market, which serves as an incubator for a diverse array of small businesses, was renovated with funds from a federal community development block grant. Council Member Clarke advocated for the creation of the market in 2000, and the plaque unveiled by the Mayor will be laid at the market in her honor. The Mayor also launched a new website for the market - www.flatbushcatonmarket.com – created by SBS to showcase the market’s entrepreneurs and attract visitors. Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, State Senator Kevin Parker and City Council Member Mathieu Eugene joined the Mayor at the announcement at the market located at 814 Flatbush Avenue.
"New York City’s 220,000 small businesses form the backbone of our City’s economy, and the Flatbush Caton market serves as an important incubator helping micro-entrepreneurs from around the world establish their businesses and build clientele," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Former Council Member Clarke led the effort to build the market, and we owe her a debt of gratitude its success. The market’s recent renovations and new website will play an important role in continuing that success by attracting visitors to the market and the East Flatbush community. I would also like to thank Congresswoman Clarke, Senator Parker and City Council Member Eugene for continuing to advocate for the market’s small businesses."
"Thanks to the vision of Former Council Member Clarke and the one-on-one business education and assistance provided by the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry to vendors at the market, a number of small businesses which launched at Flatbush Caton have already gone on to become successful stand-alone enterprises," said Commissioner Walsh. "This website will further catalyze the growth of the market’s vendors."
"I am honored that Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Walsh
and the staff of the Department of Small Business Services recognize my efforts
on behalf of an emerging community to help entrepreneurs seek economic opportunity," said Former Council Member Clarke. "I hope they move forward, thrive and grow as part of the economic mainstream."
The renovations to the market, designed by the City’s Department of Design and Construction, have added signage to attract visitors and transformed previously open stalls into enclosed booths allowing vendors to securely display and store their merchandise. The re-design won an "Excellence in Design" award from the Public Design Commission this year.
The market’s new website offers descriptions of the market’s vendors and products, providing an online presence and promotional vehicle to many of the micro-entrepreneurs for the first time. The website also includes a map of the market and calendar of community events designed to attract visitors to the market.
The Flatbush Caton market is currently home to 47 vendors selling wares including original African art, Caribbean music and custom clothing and jewelry, as well as a seasonal farmer’s market in the summer and fall. The market was established in 2000 to provide a home to grow the businesses of vendors who were then selling their goods on the street.
The market is overseen by SBS, with day-to-day operations overseen by the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI). In addition to providing a venue to help entrepreneurs build a customer base, CACCI provides vendors with business education courses and one-on-one counseling on how to launch and operate successful micro-businesses.