By Bob Giordano
The goal we set in 2014 when the Yorktown Small Business Association was established was to bring the plight of local small businesses to the attention of our citizens and elected officials. The importance of our local small businesses had been grossly underestimated. What drove us to establish the YSBA was the development of the concepts of smart growth and the communication of those concepts to our residents and elected officials by the Yorktown Smart Growth organization.
We believed, then and now, that the considerable focus/attention given to big box, national and regional chains was a serious error in judgment by many in our community and nationally. The explosive growth of internet-based sales from Amazon, eBay and other online businesses resulted in the faltering and failure of many establishment retailers, which continues to this day. Additionally, chains such as Macy’s, Sears, Kmart and JC Penney continue to downsize and close stores. Recent reports indicate that 300 of our 1,100 national malls are at risk of going out of business soon. All this should raise flags to our citizens and elected officials. Brick and mortar isn’t what it used to be.
Over the past four years, the Yorktown Small Business Association has held numerous meetings, seminars, events, networking events and have written many letters, position papers and op-eds calling attention to the importance of local small businesses to our local economy. We have advised, advocated for and mentored many small businesses. We brought outside speakers in from various organizations, including Westchester SCORE, state and county officials and local elected officials. Our mutually beneficial relationships with our not-for-profit and community service organizations have been an integral part of our activities. We have been complimented and praised for our nonpartisan and nonpolitical positions. Our 2017 election questionnaire was very well-received by the community and the candidates from both political parties in town. As a community, we have turned the corner and are on the road to a better place. We need to continue to improve and build our economy, to enable local small businesses to prosper and new ones to be created.
Seeking new opportunities, we will work with our businesses and elected officials to improve the economy and maintain our commitment to make Yorktown a better place to work, play and live. Goals are making our five business hamlets walkable; improving and marketing what we have (historic landmarks, trails, restaurants and parks); attracting new businesses, such as a hotel conference center and art and antique stores; and supporting and improving our theater and restaurants.
The Yorktown Small Business Assoiation is celebrating its fourth anniversary this month, with many guest speakers, at Eda’s Garden in the Underhill Plaza. The celebration is from 4 to 7 p.m. Jan. 31. Guest speakers will be Town Supervisor Ilan Gilbert; Town Councilman Ed Lachterman; Katherine Quinn, executive director of Support Connection; and Geri Schwalb of the Yorktown Rotary Club. Eda’s is offering a tasting of items from its menu.
For more information or to RSVP, contact Bob Giordano at 914-874-4347 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the Yorktown Small Business Assocation at yorktownsba.com.