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IMPACT AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

IMPACT AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

In almost three years of existence, the Inwood Merchant Association has grown its membership to over 300 members and made great strides for the merchant community. The IMA has established itself as a strong voice that advocates for merchants as well as a trusted go-to organization for city agencies. 

In a short time, the IMA has become an impactful organization in the neighborhood.

  1. Over 300 members have joined the IMA since its inception

  2. Launched in 2018, fully incorporated 2019

  3. Successfully produced multiple networking events in 2019, with 50+ people in attendance at every event, providing a space for merchants to connect and encourage meaningful partnerships

  4. Developed successful marquee events in Northern Manhattan strengthening the commercial vitality and cultural authenticity of Inwood.

  5. Launched and executed the Uptown Restaurant Week with 39 participating restaurants and a marketing campaign that increased the visibility of Inwood and its diverse culinary. Restaurants such as Seawalk, and Pop and Pour reported increased bookings during this week, with 60, and 20 respectively. 

  6. Launched and executed the Taste of Uptown, a 25 restaurant free food festival. It received participation from more than 500 RSVPs and the presence of all elected officials. For a community that historically does not have a track record of RSVPing to events, 500 RSVPS is an extremely successful feat!

  7. Pioneered Dyckman’s First Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony; installed a series of up to 16 feet tall holiday trees (3), estimated 9,000 lights on Dyckman and Broadway bringing the holiday spirit to life and serving as a beacon of hope during the pandemic. This was the first 24/7 accessible to the community Holiday Tree.  The Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony garnered local and national press, and complemented the holiday lighting which the IMA, with support from SBS Neighborhood 360 funding program, installed in the commercial corridor.   

  8. IMA maintains strong relationships with city agencies who are essential to the successful operations of small businesses - building a direct line of communication with the merchant community - including NYC Department of Small Businesses Services, NYC Department of Community Affairs, Office of NightLife, Department of Transportation (DOT) among others. As well as other entities and elected officials in our district. 

  9. 9. IMA has been a stakeholder in the advocacy of merchants during key legislations, policies and issues impacting merchants such as the hookah legislation and advocacy to remove one bike lane that was set up on Dykman avenue - without merchants’ input. As a result of the IMA’s intervention, demonstrating the negative impact on businesses, DOT removed the bike lane - a significant achievement as no other bike lane within the city once installed had ever been removed.  

  10. 10. The IMA continues to build collaborations with other established organizations and offices of elected officials such as The Washington Heights BID, NoMAA, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, CLOTH among others.

  11. 11. The IMA, with support from the SBS Neighborhood 360 program funds, helps maintain the commercial corridor clean, providing sanitation services around the year. In a span of 7 months, over 10,000 bags of garbage were collected and nearly 300 stickers/posters were removed from unlawful areas.

OUR RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

As New York City shut down overnight and strict city and state mandates were implemented at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses in our community faced unprecedented challenges. The Inwood Merchant Association contacted merchants immediately, to remind them that they were not alone, and supported in a number of ways. The IMA continues to serve as a pillar of support in re-opening and recovering New York City. 

Some of our efforts included:

  1. Distributed 300+ masks to local merchants helping them maintain safety protocols

  2. Provided 500+ social distancing decals marking “6 feet apart”  minimizing expenditures for merchants and helping they comply with city mandates

  3. Executed an open forum restaurant owners meeting attended by various city agencies to discuss recovering efforts, nuances around programs such as Open Streets, Sidewalk Cafes and concerns around health inspections, liquor licenses, delays from city agencies in fulfilling requests among many other issues. Over 50 business owners attended the meeting which had city officials and representatives in attendance; Commissioners Roberto Perez (NYC Community Affairs) and Jonnel Doris (Small Business Services) Ariel Palitz, Executive Director, Office of NightLife and Kenny Minaya, Chief of Staff Department of Consumer Affairs among other representatives from SBS, NYPD, NYS Latino Restaurants and Bars Association as well as elected officials, Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.

  4. Collaborated with Ponce Bank to support efforts to drive more Latino-owned businesses to apply for the Paycheck Protection Plan, providing info in English and Spanish. Also, collaborated with Congressman Adriano Espaillat to support informational live digital Q&A with representatives from the IRS and SBA on he Restaurant Revitalization Fund

  5. Attended town halls, conferences, and informational sessions with Community Board, Elected Officials, SBS, Department of Labor, Department of Health, and SBA to be informed and share with merchants

  6. Contacted businesses to inform them of financial funding - grants and loans  - available and informed them the process to apply. 

  7. Connected merchants with representatives at Small Businesses Services offices to seek information on resources and navigation of guidelines

  8. Developed the  #inwoodtrong campaign in collaboration with NoMAA. 

  9. Supported merchants with education on best practices for social media development, rebranding, and updating menus - helping many explore the new digital spaces

  10. Maintained close communication and follow ups with elected officials on delays in fund processing; shared constant communication and updates via our newsletter; published a weekly list of restaurants and stores opened for pickups and restricted sales at the height of the pandemic.

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