Great Neck Plaza teams up with Hofstra to help local businesses

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The Village of Great Neck Plaza has teamed up with Hofstra University to provide business development courses to local store owners. (Photo courtesy of Hofstra University)

Officials from the Village of Great Neck Plaza and Hofstra University’s Business Development Center announced an initiative that will provide virtual seminars for store owners on how to navigate their businesses in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative, titled “Prosper in Great Neck Plaza,” will be held on the second Wednesday of each month beginning June 9, with the “graduation” course held on Dec. 8. Plaza Mayor Ted Rosen said the courses, which are two hours long, will start off virtually but hopefully will transform to an in-person platform once coronavirus restrictions are further relaxed by the state government.

The lessons center around helping businesses develop more of an online presence to gain more brand awareness, along with managing their finances in regards to federal loans issued over the past year.

Rosen, who has been a proponent of finding ways to aid businesses throughout the village, said he recognized the impact the pandemic had on local shops. The village, he said, will also provide the $8,800 fee to allow business owners in the village to take part in the courses.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected many downtown businesses,” Rosen said. “We are concentrating on working with businesses that are in the Village of Great Neck Plaza to offer services for finance and management, and to help them succeed. We hope this partnership can be a model for other communities.”

A news conference was held on Tuesday outside Kron Chocolatier, managed by Marnie Ives. Ives, who is also a board member of the Plaza’s Business Improvement District, touted the resources that Hofstra’s Business Development Center would provide fellow store owners in the village to help them adapt to a more modern platform.

The Plaza’s struggle to retain business has been noticed by residents throughout the village and the Great Neck peninsula prior to the pandemic. Ives touched upon the need for all businesses being able to thrive and help out their neighboring stores.

“It’s hard to function as a retailer when you don’t have a retail environment,” Ives said. “That’s frustrating for merchants that are working hard and keeping their customer base, yet what’s next to them goes out.”

Hofstra’s Business Development Center has worked with businesses across Long Island and the metropolitan areas on navigating through the challenges caused by the pandemic by providing  technical and financial assistance over the past year. Stacey Sikes, the executive dean of entrepreneurship and business development at Hofstra, said the university looks forward to partnering with the Plaza in this initiative.

“We look forward to supporting downtown businesses in the Village of Great Neck Plaza grow and thrive, which will help our community’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.” Sikes said. “We believe this will serve as an example of how universities and governments can develop collaborative relationships to foster innovation and support economic development.”

“The Prosper in Great Neck Plaza series is a model example of how we can support local businesses, get our economy going and give our downtowns the boost they need,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

Village business owners interested in participating in the initiative can contact the village at mayorsassistant@greatneckplaza.net or Hofstra University at ideaHUb@Hofstra.edu

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