The Inwood Merchant Association’s mission is to preserve the existing businesses in Inwood through understanding and appreciation, to educate the business community and represent it. We want to foster businesses, community growth, and development through economic programs designed to strengthen and expand the income potential of all businesses in Inwood. We want to promote programs of a civic, social, and cultural nature that are designed to increase the functional and aesthetic values of the community.
The purpose of the Inwood Merchant Association is to provide leadership, advocacy, and resources to enhance the business and community in Inwood.
To preserve the competitive enterprise system of business in Inwood.
To create a better understanding and appreciation of the importance of businesspeople.
To understand local business concerns, issues, and problems, seeking empowering solutions.
To educate the business community in Inwood and represent it in city, county, and state legislative and political affairs.
To prevent and address detriments to the advancement of business expansion and growth of the community.
To promote programs of a civic, social, and cultural nature that appeal to the values of the community.
To preserve the competitive enterprise system of business in Inwood by expanding its potential.
To create a greater appreciation and understanding of the value of a local business and business owner. To foster programs and opportunities to enhance Inwood’s economic, social, and civic life.
The Inwood Merchant Association incorporated in October 2019, as a 501c6 as a tax-exempt non-profit organization under New York State.
The Inwood Merchant Association began out of the need to provide Inwood Businesses’ with a voice to advocate for growth and change. It developed through a $1.05 Million, three year, Neighborhood 360 grant delegated through NYC Small Businesses Services and managed through the Washington Heights BID.
Through the Washington Heights BID, work was implemented to begin to assess the needs of the neighborhood including district marketing, business data analysis, merchant organizing, and event planning. From in-depth conversations with business owners, a clear pattern emerged: merchants in the area were next to each other but disconnected, and felt they work alone but hoped there was a uniting force to address common issues and represent sectors.
The association has grown to include 350 members and is open to all businesses in Inwood. Currently, there is no fee to join. In its early stages, a steering committee was formed to decide on priorities. Since the steering committee’s establishment, they conducted one on one meetings, and expanded the number of networking events. These events served as a unique way to discuss issues, engage merchants, and celebrate diversity.
Members of the steering committee took responsibility and ownership of programs and projects that emerged from the needs, requests, and wants of the merchants. They assisted with events to further the agenda and education of the association members, laid out the bases of the association by-laws, supported outreach efforts to attract merchants, drove awareness for the association at different community events and other committees promoting the association. They successfully collaborated with the Washington Heights BID on the execution of the Second Annual Taste of Uptown, a 25 restaurant, 500 people free food festival. They also collaborated in the implementation of 2019 Uptown Restaurant Week, which garnered the participation, and promotion of 39 restaurants in Washington Heights and Inwood.
And on June 1st, the first election of the IMA Board was held, and the organization became fully independent.
They are working with the City and the merchants to diligently support the Inwood Merchants in help transition the current situation, COVID 19, and are eager to continue with previous planning as soon as permitted. They are preparing to ignite a powerful recovery attitude with the #InwoodStong campaign, a collaboration with the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, and the Washington Heights BID.
The Neighborhood 360° program was created by the NYC SBS to identify, develop, and launch commercial revitalization projects in partnership with local stakeholders.
The program started with a Commercial District Needs Assessment (CDNA) which highlights a neighborhood’s existing business landscape, featuring the main commercial corridors and taking an account of vacancies. It also calls for interaction with the merchants and residents to register consumer characteristics. The CDNA, commercial needs assessment, in Inwood was conducted in partnership with three local organizations including the Washington Heights Business Improvement District (BID). Between February and June 2016. Key issues and opportunities were identified through this assessment helped prioritize local investments and served as an informational and marketing resource for the neighborhood.
The SBS supported grant was used to implement the revitalization projects determined by the CDNA. In Inwood, these projects include the enhancement of the neighborhood’s retail diversity, collaboration with Inwood Art Works, NoMAA, Friends of Inwood Hill Park, workshops, networking events, district marketing, the beautification of its commercial corridors to make Inwood’s streets even more attractive places for all residents and visitors to shop, work, live, and play, and the creation of a merchant organization, thus the Inwood Merchant Association.