I testified today at the NYC Council Committee on Small Business in support of Intro No 1472-A, a bill that would require owners to report the vacancy status of their storefront properties and establish an open database for vacancies.
The crisis facing small businesses has only grown worse. National chains steadily spread throughout the city, storefronts sit vacant for years, and online shopping is reducing foot traffic to our local shops. We need to act now to protect the storefronts which make our neighborhoods vibrant and healthy.
I know the value of data. Data allows us to track and identify issues and measure results and this database will identify vacancy trends throughout the city, spot areas where vacancies are rapidly increasing, and identify specific property owners and managers who demonstrate a pattern of forcing out small business. It will also be a resource for small business owners looking for new space.
There is no single solution to the crisis facing small retail business, but a database of vacant storefronts would be a valuable tool to tackle the crisis and help storefronts.