By SAMUEL J. PAUL
He’s not a multimillionaire. He doesn’t drive a luxurious car or own a vacation home overseas. He doesn’t control any major stocks, but yet, he is a part of an influential force that helps keep New York City running.
“You guys want the corporate businesses, but [where] will the small businesses go then?” says Glen Mirchandani, the owner of Devisons Jewelers in Jackson Heights, Queens. “…. You want the big department stores, but what about us?”
In the midst of New York City’s mayoral race, some small business owners say that the city government and the mayoral candidates have forgotten about them. They run the “mom and pop” shops that play an important role in communities: the corner deli where busy college students get a sandwich for breakfast before rushing to school; the furniture stores that are willing to bargain the price with customers.
Small businesses, widely acknowledged as an important incubator for jobs, make up for 99 percent of New York businesses, the New York State Small Business Development Center says. The state defines a small business as an independently owned concern that employs 100 workers or less.
“None of them haven’t shown anything. I don’t like both of them,” said Mirchandani, referring to what both mayoral candidates Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota have thus far offered small businesses.
Mirchandani has been involved with several family-oriented small businesses ever since his arrival to the United States in 1983. Today, he is the proud owner of a small jewelry store. He’s of Middle Eastern descent, match supreme prem but having his business in a heavily diverse neighborhood, he has managed to pick up the Spanish language.
“They should come down and talk to us,” Mirchandani said while yelling in Spanish to one of his employees. “They just pass the orders and say this is supposed to be like that. Come on. You see the hardship we have to go through to make it up. To build it up.”
Taxes and Fines Worry Small Business Owners
“We’re getting taxed too much,” said Louie Suljovic, the owner and co-chef of Louie’s Pizzeria in Elmhurst, Queens. Regarding the mayoral candidates: “They haven’t done anything to show for small businesses!” he said. “Zero! Zero, zero, zero, zero!”
There are a total of more than 2 million small business in New York. These businesses are an important factor in the city’s economy. According to the city’s preliminary budget for fiscal year 2014, 9 percent of the city’s revenue comes from small business taxes.
Taxes, inflation, poor sales, financial and interest rates, costs of labor, government requirements and competition from large businesses are some of the issues plaguing small businesses.
Lhota, the Republican candidate, proposes lowering property taxes to make New York City rent more affordable. “New York’s property tax receipts have increased by an astounding 127 percent over the last 12 years,” he said in a statement on his website. “Moreover, landlords often pass property taxes on to commercial tenants, placing crippling tax burdens on small businesses.”
He said that over the past 11 years, the city has used fines and fees to afford overall spending increases, adding to the already high cost of doing business. ”While certain fines are necessary to deter bad behavior and promote a safe business environment, they must not be used to balance budgets,” he said. “This stifles the growth of small businesses.”
“Everything always goes up so it gets harder and harder for small businesses,” said Bruce Tatarian, manager of La Fusta Restaurant Parrillada Steak House on Baxter Avenue, Elmhurst. The La Fusta Restaurant has been open since 1970. It’s a very small place decorated with Halloween ornaments with barely enough room for two people to stand comfortably around the tables. “To tell you the truth, it’ll be nice if we got more support,” Tatarian said while taking care of a customers bill. “A little more sympathy would be nice.”
Both de Blasio and Lhota have visited local small businesses during their campaign. match supreme txt femmes But Tatarian says they still haven’t done enough. “They’re not putting it out there enough,” he said. “You got to win the people’s hearts by actually seeing the people face to face.”
As public advocate, de Blasio proposed a plan for ”rational enforcement” of city regulations based on public safety rather than as a boost for city revenue at the expense of small businesses, according to his website.
Part of de Blasio’s campaign message to small businesses is to support and treat them as the key for city’s growth. “New York City spends too many dollars in one-off deals for large, well-connected corporations, while too many industry sectors and small businesses are neglected — especially those in outer-borough neighborhoods,” said a statement on his website.
De Blasio will establish new revolving loan funds to support economic growth in low-income neighborhoods, according to the statement.
The city already has an agency devoted to serving the needs of small businesses. The New York City Small Business Service provides business planning and financing courses, a network of lawyers offering pro-bono services and promotes opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses. However, some small business owners complain that the city is only out to help the big businesses.
“They should go out and know what problems we have instead of just sitting in the offices and passing the law,” said Mirchandani. “Come talk to the small people and see what problems they’re facing. Don’t go for the corporate giant businesses.”
Photo: Devisons Jewelers in Jackson Heights.