The New York City Economic Development Corporation and the New York City Department of Small Business Services have announced the expansion of NYC Business Acceleration to serve supermarkets and grocery stores offering a full array of food products. Since launching in 2010, NYC Business Acceleration has helped more than 1,600 food and beverage businesses, creating nearly 23,000 jobs, open faster by reducing the time and effort needed to meet City requirements like plan reviews and inspections. Offering NYC Business Acceleration services to supermarket and grocery store clients will help these businesses to navigate City approvals, shaving weeks and in some cases months off of their pre-opening period. The announcement was made at the grand opening of the first supermarket utilizing the expanded NYC Business Acceleration programming, a Food Bazaar Supermarket at 42-02 Northern Boulevard in Long Island City. Food Bazaar also is part of the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) Program, which was launched by NYCEDC in 2009 in partnership with the City Council to increase access to food in underserved communities by incentivizing the establishment and retention of neighborhood supermarkets. Both the NYC Business Acceleration program and FRESH have been created to spur economic development and facilitate expanded access to fresh, healthy food throughout the City.
“The FRESH Program has helped provide assistance to supermarkets across New York City, and this store will give the underserved neighborhood of Long Island City an option for healthy groceries,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. “Along with the expanded NYC Business Acceleration program, FRESH continues to encourage economic development in the City, create jobs and fulfill needs for local communities.”
“NYC Business Solutions Centers help businesses in all five boroughs start, operate, and grow, and work closely with NYC Business Acceleration to refer their services to new food and beverage establishments opening in the City,” said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “The expansion of NYC Business Acceleration to include grocery stores and supermarkets is great news for New York City, and will help even more businesses open their doors faster and create jobs.”
“FRESH is a forward thinking, soup to nuts approach that is not only stimulating the economy, but also helping New Yorkers access food in underserved communities,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The first program of its kind in the nation, the FRESH initiative has seen remarkable success, and I'm thrilled that NYC Business Acceleration will now include grocery stores and supermarkets so that its success will surely continue. I thank and congratulate the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the New York City Department of Small Business Services, as well the industry, food, community advocates who have partnered with us in our commitment to creating jobs and improving nutrition in New York City.”
“Increasing the amount of fresh produce available throughout the city has not only helped keep New Yorkers healthy, but it has also created thousands of jobs,” said Council Member Leroy Comrie. “When I was Chair of the Consumer Affairs Committee, we held many hearings on how to make the FRESH Initiative work, and today, many stores, and food carts, have opened in neighborhoods that are in need of healthy food options. I am pleased that this Supermarket was able to open with the assistance of the City through the FRESH Initiative, and would like to thank Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, Councilwoman Diana Reyna, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, and the representatives from New York City’s Economic Development Corporation and Small Business Services, for helping to make it possible.”
“Food Bazaar will give our neighborhood a healthy boost from our diets to our wallets,” said New York State Senator Michael Gianaris. “This new FRESH supermarket will bring healthy, affordable food to those who need it most, while creating jobs right here in Long Island City. Like the healthy food it offers, Food Bazaar is good for our community.”
"We are proud to have partnered with the City to make this new Long Island City Food Bazaar Supermarket a FRESH program store as well as the first NYC Business Acceleration supermarket,” said Spencer An, President & CEO of Bogopa Service Corporation and Food Bazaar Supermarkets. “It is very exciting for us to be opening a store here and we hope that our presence will be very beneficial to the residents of Long Island City and to the Food Bazaar family. We believe in this community and that’s why we are here.”
“The retail food industry welcomes the expansion of NYC Business Acceleration to include grocery stores,” said Jay M. Peltz, Vice President at the Food Industry Alliance of New York State. “We are looking forward to partnering with government to increase access to fresh, healthy foods in underserved communities through new store openings.”
Food Bazaar, the first FRESH supermarket to open in Queens, is expected to create over 100 full-time equivalent jobs within three years, and will have over 50,000 square feet of selling area, including an over 5,500 square foot produce section. This supermarket also plans to open a food court under the leadership of Corporate Executive Chef Andrew Matthews. Food Bazaar is operated by Bogopa Service Corp., which opened its first supermarket 25 years ago in Corona and now operates 18 full-service supermarkets. These supermarkets regularly partner with local organizations including religious, not-for-profit, educational, law enforcement, public housing, healthcare institutions, senior citizen groups, small business groups and community boards by providing them with food and monetary donations in support of various community-minded, socially responsible initiatives.
Many of the low-income areas across the City that are underserved by local grocery stores also have higher rates of diet-related diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Increasing healthy food retail in these neighborhoods reduces disparities in access to nutritious, affordable, fresh food. To address this, the City launched the FRESH program in 2009 in partnership with the City Council. An inter-agency effort supported by the Mayor’s Office, NYC Economic Development Corporation, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Department of City Planning, this program offers an array of zoning and financial incentives to promote neighborhood grocery stores in underserved communities throughout the five boroughs. Since launching, a total of 18 FRESH projects have been approved—three of which have been approved for zoning bene¬fits—and four have completed construction. These supermarkets are expected to provide about 565,000 square feet of new or reno¬vated space, are estimated to retain more than 500 jobs and create 908 new jobs, and represent an investment of approximately $67 million across the City.
Expanding NYC Business Acceleration services to supermarkets and grocery stores will help the City continue to increase access to neighborhood grocery stores in underserved communities and also help speed the creation of new businesses and jobs. Since launching, NYC Business Acceleration has helped save new food and beverage businesses an average of 2.5 months on opening by guiding them through the City’s regulatory processes. The expansion of NYC Business Acceleration will provide services to anyone opening a new grocery store or supermarket. A client manager will help business owners understand and navigate government regulatory requirements and provide support in accessing various resources. The client manager will work closely with the business to schedule and coordinate required plan reviews and inspections from City agencies, including the New York City Department of Buildings, Fire Department, Health Department, and Department of Environmental Protection. NYC Business Acceleration can also help facilitate interactions with State agencies and other service providers. In addition, NYC Business Acceleration will link grocery stores and supermarkets with other City efforts supporting supermarket development such as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Shop Healthy program and the FRESH program.
All small business owners, including grocery stores and supermarkets, can also access free services through the City’s Business Solutions Centers, located in all five boroughs. Services include business courses, pro-bono legal assistance, access to financing, city, state, and federal incentives, help navigating government regulations, recruiting and training staff, certifying as a minority or women-owned business, and more.
For more information on NYC Business Acceleration or NYC Business Solutions services, visit www.nyc.gov or call 311. For more information on the FRESH program, visit http://www.nycedc.com/fresh.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.
About the Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for businesses in New York City to start, operate and expand by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts, and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. For more information on all of SBS’ services, go to www.nyc.gov/sbs.