The Sutphin Boulevard BID received a $95,000 grant to help renovate some storefronts and signage in the neighborhood. Officials and business leaders unveiled the new facades on Wednesday. NY1's Tanya Klich filed the following report.
Mario Paz has been the manager of F&S Discount and Variety on Sutphin Boulevard for 25 years. He says the store’s look was in need of sprucing up.
“It looked very old because it was [here] since the 1970s,” said Paz.
But not anymore. F&S and several neighboring businesses benefited from a $95,000 grant to renovate their facades. It came from the city’s Department of Small Business Services. Councilmen Daneek Miller and Rory Lancman say the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District was the only organization in Queens to receive this funding and it needed every penny.
“Before we got this grant and these facades were improved you would have seen just kind of a hodgepodge of different storefronts that were that were of an aesthetic of ugliness,” said Councilman Lancman.
Local leaders gathered Wednesday to celebrate the makeovers. They say the seven renovated facades in the area, mark a new beginning for Sutphin Boulevard.
“It makes me want to come here to shop, it makes people who live in the area, who live across the street, happy to be here,” said Councilman Lancman.
He adds these new storefronts will encourage other local business owners in the area to improve their facades as well.
“This grant is going to cause other businesses in the neighborhood to take a look and see that they can make improvements, they can make an investment, and it's going to pay off,” said Lancman.
Paz says the upgrades are already making a difference.
"It makes the business look beautiful," he said.
"The design of it, it totally makes an impact, it's in a high traffic area," said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the City’s Department of Small Business Services.
Leaders say this is the first of many improvements headed to the commercial and transportation hub in the next 5 years. A 3-story apartment complex is in the works near Archer Avenue, along with a new Hilton Garden Inn.
“We want to be recognized and known as an up and coming area for retail,” said Glenn Greenidge, Executive Director of Sutphin BID.
Local leaders say the sleeker storefronts are a good place to start.