With New Developments on the Horizon some Small Staten Island Businesses Struggle for Survival

There are high hopes on Staten Island that new development projects like the NY Wheel and Empire Outlets will lure new businesses to the borough. But just down the street from the new developments, many small businesses are in a fight for survival.

Mariners Harbor resident Michael Howel has lived on Staten Island for 30 years. 

He says he rarely thinks about going to Richmond Terrace to shop or eat.

"Well the businesses over here to be honest they need to take some of these abandoned buildings they got laying around here and make certain stores and make places where people can shop," said Mariners Harbor resident Michael Howel.

Richmond Terrace is Staten Island's northernmost thoroughfare, much of it snakes along the Kill Van Kull, across from New Jersey.

The Staten Island Economic Development Corporation examined the seven blocks between Van Pelt and Mesereau Avenues in a new study.

The industrial and maritime businesses on the north side of the street are doing just fine.

But more than 25% of the stores on the commercial south side have disappeared.

"A lot of them seem to be relocating to Forest Avenue corridor," said Jonathan Parente, project manager at Staten Island Economic Development Corporation. "There is just a lot more business density on that corridor.  You have a lot more big box stores, smaller businesses, retail shops."

An exception, Star Supply, which has sold party goods, janitorial supplies and restaurant equipment here for 18 years.

Owner Vince Accornero says it is because he doesn't rely on foot traffic.

"We rely more on the wholesale business and the regional business," Accornero said. "We deliver to the whole island.  But you don't have any boutiques or any shops down here."

The Development Corporation study says there is a critical mass of people living nearby to support more businesses, but that a lack of parking and mass transit, dilapidated buildings and concerns about safety keep those stores and customers away.

The agency plans to make recommendations to city officials and agencies to improve conditions.

"We want to encourage the right companies to move to Richmond Terrace," said Steven Grillo first vice president of the SIEDC.

The SIEDC is hopeful that if its recommendations are implemented new business will move into the area over time and this will encourage the city to improve infrastructure and public transportation helping Richmond Terrace thrive.

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