Written by Wendy Kreitzman Friday, 15 March 2013 00:00
In the midst of a weak economy and struggling downtowns, Village of Great Neck Plaza officials are working to revitalize their business district and entice new merchants. A committee was formed, new literature printed and a business party kicked off the campaign right after the new year.
Long-time Plaza Trustee Gerald Schneiderman told the Great Neck Record that the Plaza began their plan a year ago. Plaza Mayor Jean Celender formed a Mayors’ Downtown Committee, consisting of merchants and landlords. Schneiderman is the board of trustees liaison to the committee. And early in the New Year, the mayor and the new committee kicked off 2013 with a party to welcome 2013 and help boost the downtown.
Schneiderman showed the Record the new marketing materials the committee developed, “all designed to draw new businesses” to the downtown area. The materials, such as the brochure and a map of the downtown area, were designed to assist brokers and landlords attract new businesses. Copies were distributed at the party and brokers and landlords were encouraged to come to Village Hall to take bundles to hand out to perspective buyers and residents.
“This marketing brochure tells the story about the village’s rich history,” Celender explained. She said that “while we look back with pride on those fronts, we look forward to opportunities that lay ahead … hence, the tag line ‘Historic Village, Modern Opportunity’ for the marketing brochure.”
Both property owners in the business district and residential area property owners were targeted in this new campaign. Celender spoke of her village as just the perfect place to live and to work.
“One of the first things people think of is our ideal location and 25-minute train ride into Manhattan,” she said, adding that “the Plaza is much more than that … our downtown is filled with charming boutiques, mom and pop stores, award winning restaurants and over 45 office buildings that some 2,500 companies call home.” Further, the mayor told the Record: “For those families looking to move into Great Neck Plaza, the close proximity to three world-class hospitals and the Great Neck School District with top public schools is a real draw.”
And along with the new plans, and the brochures designed by Schneiderman, the committee sought to correct the “perception” that “there is no parking in the Plaza.” At that point, Schneiderman explained that the villages’ BID (Business Improvement District) stepped in with signs pointing to village parking. “We have 1,622 parking spots,” Schneiderman said. And the BID helped produce a special parking brochure for merchants to hand out.
According to Schneiderman, as soon as the marketing brochures were distributed to realtors, properties were leased, with hopes for many more to come. He told the Record that there is “always at least an eight percent vacancy rate.” A few years ago the number rose to 13 percent, but today is down to around a 10 percent vacancy.
Schneiderman is more than pleased with the success of the new campaign and the literature. “We’re still working on new ideas and we will continue to work with realtors,” he said.
Celender promises to keep looking for new initiatives and programs that can continue to make the Plaza “one of the best places to live, work, shop and play.”