There Is Hope


LTR BusinessesIn response to the Great Neck Record’s front page story “Is There Hope?” at the beginning of the year, readers had plenty to say. A sampling of our readers’ responses are below.

“There is always hope if you work towards goals!”

Scott Zimmerman

Great Neck Chamber of Commerce President

“Until online sellers are forced to collect individual state sales taxes, retailers in brick and mortar will continue to suffer. There is no way to continue to sell hard goods when the playing field is stacked against you. Great neighborhoods continue to become vacant shells and commensurately, property values decrease as this blight affects communities. How long will it take consumers to realize that if they do not support their neighborhood shops they are ruining their own property values? As this disease spreads, the overall economy will follow in this downfall. Hopefully, we can reverse this trend, but it has to start at the state level whereby lost tax revenue from online sellers is recovered.”


“Figure out how to incentivize the landlords to keep the rents reasonable.”

Janet Nicolini 

“There is no hope with high rents due to high taxes and cheap people living here—just no hope—unless of course we win the big lotto.


“I think it is the high rent! I am very sorry to see the toy store and the restaurant La Giaconda close, we have no bakery—the only places that seem to stay open are banks and beauty salons. If everyone is shopping online, why don’t Manhasset, Port Washington and even Bell Boulevard share this problem? I really hope this can be corrected before it becomes too late. I really hope you can help turn the tide and make Great Neck a vibrant shopping and eating area.”

Mary Ann Kennedy Oliva

“Yes there is!!! Thank you for your commitment.”


“Besides rents being too high, I think the parking situation is not helping at all. Customers are always complaining that they are short on time, worried they’ll get a ticket and are always in a rush to leave the shop.


“The parking situation is a great point. They can’t wait to give a person a ticket in GN.”


“And they just raised parking prices! How about forcing landlords to lower rent. Or penalize them for keeping their store empty for too many years. Or tax breaks. Something. Get these stores filled!!!”


“Only recently has the metered parking gone up in Great Neck (and it’s not that bad). Austin Street in Forest Hills, Bell Boulevard in Bayside, Port Washington, Huntington, etc., all have meters. There has to be a reason that someone comes to shop in Great Neck. It is not a town that you pass through to go somewhere else.”


“In America, you cannot ‘force’ private property owners to lower rent. As for penalizing them, they are paying property taxes and insurance on vacant property. Maybe the rents are ‘too high,’ but it’s a business decision being made on both sides. Residential rent controls don’t work either.”


“They are happy to get the deduction.”


“The biggest problem is that Great Neck has an enormous school tax. The commercial tax rate is over 6 percent of the property value. The property, which used to be Bruce’s, sold for more than $1 million recently. At 6 percent that’s more than $5,000 per month just in taxes! So, how can such a small store charge less than $5,000 per month in rent? Therefore, landlords can’t drop rent prices and stores can’t afford to be here.”


If other towns’ small businesses are thriving, it isn’t the fault of online shopping and lack of townspeople wanting to shop locally. It’s lack of parking, high rents and overzealous zoning. Who even carries cash, let alone dozens of quarters. If someone parks to have their hair or nails done, chances are good that they are going to be racing back to their cars to prevent a ticket. They certainly aren’t going to stroll down the street and make a few impromptu stops. Great Neck should at least use Muni Meters that take credit cards.”


“First of all, when you have a struggling retail district, the most foolish thing is to make it more difficult for people to shop and for shopkeepers to stay. I don’t know what Mayor Celender was thinking when she actually PAID people to tell her to raise parking meter fees and limit time. That had to be the most moronic approach I have ever seen. Give free parking and longer parking times. Incentivize businesses to rent here. Possibly, they should restrict the amount of duplicitous business in this town. We don’t need anymore nail and hair salons. We need restaurants.”


“It’s high rents. It’s why we don’t have lower-priced retailers like bookstores and bakeries. If someone opened a mini Barnes & Noble with a café here, it would be a gold mine. It’s also the stores not going with ‘the times.’ Some stores can lower their prices a bit—offer more sales or incentives, and do things like have websites, which they advertise in the paper, or on their store signs…they can set up online ordering. If someone is shopping in a store and they don’t have what they want, the store should offer to order it for them. This is what they are competing with—the digital world—and the store keepers have to hop on the digital ‘bus.’ The village has to back them up by creating incentives for stores to stay in business, though. That promenade night this past summer was a joke. I grew up here and raise my family here. I live right in town and I get sad when I take a walk in Great Neck Plaza. There is nothing to do here, nowhere to shop.”


In the meantime, the Great Neck Record has been featuring opening businesses each week. If you have a favorite new business in town, please send the details to greatneck@anton and the business could be featured in an upcoming edition of the paper.

Click to read the article Is There Hope?

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