Editorial: Small businesses are everyone’s business

Businesses, particularly small ones that help shape a neighborhood’s identity, are always on the minds of New Yorkers, who’ve grown weary of seeing them disappear in favor of banks and chain stores.

However, there are, finally, some opportunities to help small businesses. One opportunity is of course, presented by the more pleasant weather that comes with spring (well, hopefully soon, anyway) and the chance to check out all the new places to shop, eat or drink that have popped up in the post-holiday months and to re-discover tried and true favorites.

Another opportunity New Yorkers have to help protect the retail diversity of the city is to reach out to elected officials and ask them to support legislation aimed at helping small businesses.

As reported in this week’s issue, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has drafted legislation that would give retail tenants a fighting chance at staying put when it comes time for lease renewal. It’s not exactly commercial rent control, but even giving small businesses the option of sitting down to negotiate rather than just allowing them to get abruptly kicked out would be a pretty significant shift of power.

A recently launched effort by blogger Jeremiah Moss of Vanishing New York called #Savenyc is aimed at collecting people’s stories about their favorite small businesses, which, like waiting lists for affordable apartments, seem to be a dying breed.

And here at Town & Village, we’d like to think we’re no slouches about supporting local merchants and restaurants either, with monthly new local business roundups and also the Shopping Local series of articles profiling businesses both old and new. While we’ve let that series, begun in the months after Hurricane Sandy, lapse, we are proud to announce its return in upcoming issues. If you’re the owner of a small business we haven’t yet gotten to, or if you know of a business you think deserves some publicity, please send your suggestions to us at editor@townvillage.net.