Lower Manhattan cannot be farther from the stilettos that will kick off Fashion Week catwalks, but that won’t stop business owners in our area from celebrating Fashion’s Night Out tomorrow night, especially not Jennifer Gandia of Â Greenwich Jewelers.
“Jewelry IS fashion and we’re excited about participating!” says Gandia, “The number of stores participating this year is amazing — way more than last year. There is an event for everyone.”
Participation in an event such as Fashion’s Night Out is important to local businesses. As the global recession has taken its toll on every industry, Lower Manhattan businesses have endured a distinctly tougher economic climate.
The loss of pedestrian traffic from the original World Trade Center site compounded by infrastructural changes and the construction restrictions around the area have forced many businesses to close.
“We feel very disconnected from the rest of the West Side,” says Jennifer Gandia of Greenwich Jewelers on Trinity Place, which is only a few blocks south of the World Trade Center site, “We are ready for the [World Trade Center] site to be completed.”
As most businesses in our area still rely on the Monday through Friday patronage of nearly 300,000 daily workers that commute to our area, Gandia notes that there is a responsibility of business owners to connect with the growing residential population.
“There are many reasons small businesses in this neighborhood have closed. It’s important for the residents to patronize their local shops but its a two way street, the businesses in the area must serve the locals,” says Jennifer Gandia of Greenwich Jewelers,Â ”That means being open when the people who live here are home. We had to change our hours and open on weekends to serve the residents of the neighborhood. In turn they come to use when they need something and know we are here.”
As businesses such as Gandia’s see this as just a bump in the road to recovery, leaders in our area acknowledge that these challenges to small businesses may last for another 5 years.
So much so, that Â State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblyman Sheldon Silver along with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation had announced The Small Firm Assistance Program earlier this week. The program seeks to offer aid to small businesses in Lower Manhattan affected by these infrastructural challenges all the way through sunset of December 31, 2015.
Handicaps aside, that doesn’t mean there aren’t signs of hope. According to a recent Downtown Alliance report, economic recovery is on an upswing as nearly 300 new businesses have relocated to Lower Manhattan since 2008.
According to Gandia, “We choose not to focus on the past and instead to remain present minded and plan for our future and the next 30-plus years of serving the downtown community.”
To find out more on how you can support Fashion’s Night Out events in our area, check out the complete listing of shops and their events here.
To see how you can take part in Greenwich Jeweler’s silent auction, view the pieces on auction and find out more details here.