“All of Brooklyn is invited to walk the BID this season … and beyond,” says Lori Luis, Interim Executive Director of The Bed-Stuy GATEWAY Business Improvement District along the mile-long Fulton Street business corridor from Classon Avenue to Troy Avenue. “We’re open for business … and more … all year long.”
And for Ms. Luis, “more” goes quite a distance. The one-mile strip makes the walk a healthy one; you get some exercise and discover healthy food options along the way.
There are more than 400 businesses along that strip – making this BID one of the largest in New York State; more combined products, services and dining opportunities offered than other BIDs in Brooklyn; there’s more of a cluster of multiethnic stories of entrepreneurial struggle and success than just about anywhere else in the world. Established in 2009, the Bed-Stuy Gateway BID is now a favorite spot for shopping and dining. It also is a place where you gain a sense of community.
In these businesses, this season’s heartfelt message of “peace on earth” can be heard in numerous dialects and dozens of languages, including Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Spanish, Indonesian, Russian, Swahili, Thai, Yiddish and more.
A walk down the BID also offers a lesson in another word: unity, plus BID members’ marketing savvy-ness.
“We’re here to serve the community!”- Ricky, CEO, Ricky’s Eat Well Jamaican Food, who offers a dinner deal for $4.
“The view from here is getting better! More than 400 members and counting,” said Solano, CEO, Solano’s Optical, easily identifiable as the cheerleader and Mayor of the Gateway.
“Kings County’s small business sustainability efforts began in this area … more than a century ago,” said Doris Porter, CEO of The Lab, a community landmark established in an historic site at the Tompkins/Fulton intersection.
“Location! Location! Location! is the mantra for prime property. When you think about it: for products and services, Bed-Stuy BID is the shopping destination,” according to Richard Flateau, CEO, Flateau Realty.
“We’re growing — one day at a time!,” Betty Long, CEO, The Gospel Den, for 22 years, told us.
“So come in and meet the family!” invites Mr. Otis Hampton of A&W Moving & Storage, 1476 Fulton St., whose family business is one of the oldest on-going small business establishments on the entire length of Fulton St., end to end; he and his late business trailblazing wife Evelyn Hampton formally established as their own in the early1970’s.
And speaking of legacies, BID’s First Brooklyn Supply (purveyors of plumbing, electrical, lumber and hardware) is building one. Thirty-year-old Jay K., of Guyanese nationality, has enjoyed his position as Assistant Manager for five years. He sees the GATEWAY as a statement for the future of business and other BIDs. “Unity always brings strength. When we work together, we can build the community together.”
At First Supply, that belief is put into action. Mr. K informed us that First Supply chooses not to shelve certain products. “We leave some items alone and direct customers to other hardware stores on Fulton Street where those items can be found.” (BG)