Great Neck Plaza kicks off campaign to promote local shops, eateries

Officials from the Village of Great Neck Plaza kicked off its' Shop Local/Dine Local campaign over the weekend. (Photo courtesy of Ted Rosen)

Great Neck Plaza kicked off a campaign to promote local dining and shopping establishments in the village over the weekend.

Plaza officials said the campaign is a “multi-faceted village program” that aims to support the village’s existing businesses while serving as a recruitment tool for new businesses.  The initiative was planned to start last fall, but was pushed back to allow for the area to make more positive strides in the coronavirus pandemic and for the weather to improve.

“[This] is a key component of the Village’s campaign to support our local shops, restaurants and other food establishments in this difficult time,” Mayor Ted Rosen said. “The campaign will feature posters displayed in local shops, restaurants and other food establishments, lawn signs placed around the Village and two banners affixed to the Middle Neck Road Bridge over the LIRR tracks.”

“I know how challenging it is for the proprietors of our retail shops to remain in business today,” Trustee Michael DeLuccia said. “All of us should make a determined effort to support them and give them our business so that they can continue to be successful and add so much to our community.”

Trustee Lawrence Katz touted the importance of shopping local throughout the village and the nation, noting that small businesses cannot be ignored, despite more progress being made on the coronavirus front.

“Small businesses comprise approximately 99% of all of the businesses in our nation,” Katz said.  “Many of these businesses are located on main streets throughout our country and their continued success and viability are not only important to our national economy but are also critically important to the vitality of the small towns and communities, like the Plaza, in which they are located.”

The signs and posters were created by Sam Marksheid, a professional graphic designer who volunteered his services to the village he grew up in. It also happens that his mother, Pam,  serves as a village trustee.

“I am very proud that my son could utilize his beautiful talents and skills to assist the village in which he grew up and which he loves very much in this most important project,” Marksheid said. “This many-sided approach the Village is taking should help our businesses and restaurants recover from this very difficult year.”

Rosen mentioned that other initiatives undertaken by the village to aid existing businesses include a business advisory group, which will partner with a local university to provide instruction to merchants on how to find more success in modern-day retail shopping. The village is also planning a commercial landlord support group that will aid landlords in finding ways to be resourceful in renting their commercial spaces.

“In addition to supporting our existing merchants, the Village is seeking to recruit businesses to come to Great Neck Plaza as well as the greater Great Neck community,” Rosen said. The Village has formed a working group with representatives of the Great Neck Chamber of Commerce and certain other government officials to develop strategies to recruit businesses to Great Neck and the Village will also seek to hire a professional downtown recruiter or advocate to bring in new businesses to the Plaza.”

The Plaza initiative is the latest development in recent community efforts to help revitalize the peninsula’s business district.

A group of Great Neck residents discussed ways to build enthusiasm around the peninsula’s business offerings as part of the first meeting of the grassroots group Destination: Great Neck last week.

During the meeting, goals were prioritized and committees were established to contact local governing bodies and discuss ways to promote local businesses, including the creation of pop-up fairs, increased parking and valet services, and streamlining business opportunities.  These initiatives will be coordinated with local governments on the peninsula, including the Great Neck Park District and the Town of North Hempstead.

Michele Tabaroki, who runs the organization’s social media along with being the owner of Confidanze & Fitness Studio, touted the importance of businesses having an online presence when trying to find ways to generate more revenue.

“The vision of Great Neck is based on nostalgia, but there has to be audacious thinking,” Tabaroki said. “Social media has already jump-started this invigorating collective.”

Despite the pages being less than two weeks old, the efforts of Tabaroki and the social media postings have resulted in more than 500 followers on the group’s Facebook page, “Destination: Great Neck” and more than 700 followers on its Instagram page “@GreatNeckBiz.”

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