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19 August 2017

How Cities Can Save Small Shops

By Emanuel Martinez By Karen Loew for Citylab – Over its two decades in business, Jane’s Exchange, a secondhand children’s and maternity clothing shop in Manhattan’s East Village, has clothed generations of diverse New Yorkers and served as a de facto resource center, water cooler, and play spot. When she’s not running Jane’s Exchange, the co-owner Gayle Raskin, who also lives nearby, is usually active elsewhere in the community. Especially on this island of the empty storefront, her shop is a textbook example of why shopping local matters: The store fills a need, employs local residents, re-invests locally, supplies warmth and personality to a city block, and supports neighborhood connections and institutions, which support it back. Shops like this one are disappearing fast from city streets, particularly in Manhattan, where they’re often left empty—leading to so-called high-rent blight—or else replaced by chain stores. According to the Small Business Congress, at least 1,200 small businesses close every month in New York City. Even if that number is correct, some are replaced by new small businesses. But the immense scale of the problem is clear: “This is the number one issue in Manhattan,” Borough President Gale Brewer told the City Council at a hearing last September.

GREENTV Source: How Cities Can Save Small Shops

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