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New York City Small Business Services announces hundreds of thousands of dollars in new grants

NYC Small Business Services announces hundreds of thousands of dollars in new grants
NYC Small Business Services announces hundreds of thousands of dollars in new grants 02:00

NEW YORK -- The city is taking big steps to help struggling local businesses still reeling from the pandemic.

Officials say new grants will help business owners get back on their feet.

It's quaint, with no store front.

"We get the magic of both worlds, we between 125th and 126th street," Youssoupha Gueye said.

The 9 Tails Coffee Shop in Harlem is where barista Gueye proudly makes his creations, tucked in the middle of a plant shop on one side and hardware store on the other.

"We need more signage. We need more stuff to show we are here," Gueye said.

FLASHBACKCommissioner of NYC Small Business Services department encourages owners to reach out if they're struggling

It's of the nearly 200,000 small shops in New York City. Now, the city's Small Business Services is targeting to build-up even more.

"Investment into the neighborhoods is investment in the communities," Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin D. Kim said.

The agency announced hundreds of thousands of dollars in new grants to help small mom-and-pop shops to be more appealing to local shoppers.

"They help promote public safety, because they have staff walking around keeping people safe. They have sanitation services picking garage up in busy commercial quarters," Kim said.

That includes more commercial lighting to shopping areas and even music to trees, like one on 125th Street, helping merchants to promote business practices.

"There has to be ongoing communication with technology and there has to be an experience. People want an experience," said Barbara Askins, president and CEO of 125th Street Business Improvement District.

While officials say the pandemic shut down 30,000 shops in the city, Councilman Oswald Feliz said, "That created vacated storefronts and that created quality-of-life issues."

Right now, 1 in 6 businesses operating have started since January 2022, and now half of the small businesses in the city are owned by immigrants.

"They are bringing the flavor, product, energy, culture, enthusiasm. That's what people want to see," KIm said.

City officials say every time you shop local, 70 cents of every dollar circulates back into your community.

"It'll come back to benefit them and their family as well," Kim said.

That's something Gueye hopes people remember when they pick up that local coffee.

"Us living and working in this area has allowed us to cultivate such as community," Gueye said.

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