Branding initiatives for commercial corridors
Understanding the distinctiveness of two commercial corridors co-existing in Coney Island, the Alliance has worked with design companies to establish brand identities that are reflective of the unique attributes of the Amusement District and Mermaid Avenue.
Through grant funding from the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, we hired 3x3 Design to develop a brand for Mermaid Avenue. After undertaking an inclusive stakeholder engagement process, 3x3 Design designed street banners, merchant window stickers, tote bags and more as a means to create the brand identity. Often, the residential community and local businesses in our neighborhood node are overshadowed by the Amusement District; our goal is to create a shared sense of community through this newly designed brand identity.
Thanks to grant funding from NYC Department of Small Business Services’ Neighborhood Design Lab, we worked to establish a collective brand identity to highlight the diversity of the two districts. Through our branding “Coney Island for Everyone,” we aim to further cultivate the shared sense of community throughout our lively neighborhood.
promoting local spending
With over 350 businesses in our community, we believe that Coney Island has a variety of goods and services to offer and there is a need to foster connections between our businesses and community stakeholders to promote local spending.
The Alliance took the first step towards shopping local by partnering with multiple businesses for each event we held in the past year. Whether it was a venue reservation for our events, food, drinks or flowers, we bought and shopped locally. We believe that this initiative also promotes Coney Island businesses to other stakeholders attending our events and encourages further local spending!
We are proud to participate annually in the Small Business Saturday initiative. We support Coney Island small businesses with marketing materials, decorations and guidance on deals and offers to maximize their success!
SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Through our strong partnerships and constant communication with local city agencies, we are apprised of grants and initiatives that may benefit our local businesses. Our community outreach staff are always out and about, visiting and educating our businesses on these opportunities, while helping them to apply. So far we have assisted over 15 businesses in receiving the goTenna text messaging network system and 9 businesses apply for the Paycheck Protection Program and distributed over 3,850 pairs of gloves and 41,000 disposable adults masks, 4,050 children’s masks and 100 bottles of hand sanitizer to the Coney Island business community.
Our consistent outreach is also to inform businesses of any changes in the laws and ensure compliance with existing laws to avoid violations, such as the styrofoam ban and the changes in storefront signage and awning requirements.
With a goal of helping businesses avoid violations and be more informed of the current NYC regulations, we facilitate free, on-site compliance consultations from the NYC Department of Small Business Services to help prevent small business owners from receiving costly fines and penalties.
MARKET RESEARCH STUDIES
After Hurricane Sandy hit, Empire State Development funded a Mermaid Avenue Market Research Study, laying the groundwork to design and implement initiatives for a more efficient and speedy recovery, as well as a more resilient and sustainable neighborhood.
The Alliance worked with multiple consultants and community stakeholders, including Larisa Ortiz Associates and WXY to identify the corridor’s strengths and areas that would benefit from attention or improvement.
In addition, we worked with NYC Department of Small Business Services to conduct a Commercial District Needs Assessment (CDNA) for all our commercial corridors - capturing an economic snapshot of 287 businesses. Through multiple engagement sessions with our stakeholders, surveys, outreach and streetscape and façade observations, we collected data to determine the needs of our distinctive commercial districts and our residents.
Each of these studies have provided valuable insights and a tangible plan to guide our strategic initiatives in the coming year.
Neighborhood 360° Grant Program
In the Fall of 2020, The Alliance was awarded the Neighborhood 360° Grant by the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). The grant is awarded to community-based organizations (CBOs) and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to staff, plan, and implement commercial revitalization programs over three years, as directed by the key findings in the Commercial District Needs Assessment (CDNA). In addition to providing multi-year funding for commercial revitalization projects, the grant also funds a full-time program manager to oversee the associated projects.
Thanks to the grant, the Alliance has been able to undertake a variety of initiatives to help improve the vibrancy and vitality of both the Coney Island Amusement District and the Mermaid Avenue commercial corridor. One of the biggest successes to date has been the installation of the Coney Island for Everyone mural project. The Alliance was also able to provide supplemental sanitation to the neighboorhood, undertake a neighborhood clean-up campaign, and place flyers and stickers in local businesses reminding residents and visitors in multiple languages to throw trash away in the appropriate receptacles, especially masks and gloves. In addition to supporting projects throughout the area, the grant also has allowed the Alliance to provide small business support and navigation of the grant and loan opportunities, especially to help them financially during the pandemic.