Grimm, state Sen. Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis sponsored the forum, which took place at Boulevard Books and Café, a bookstore at 7518 13th Ave. A small group of business owners and civic leaders took part in a roundtable discussion at the forum. Owner Tatiana Nicoli, who opened Boulevard Books last year, credited the SBDC with helping her get started. “I went to them for help when this bookstore was just a concept,” she said. Part of the SBDC’s mission is to know the community well, according to Telmany, who said it’s important to understand what is going on in the community “because things are always changing.” Helping small businesses is vital, Grimm said. “I get asked all the time, ‘Where are the jobs?’ This is how we create jobs,” he said, looking around the table. “Sixty‐five percent of the jobs in this country are created by small businesses.” “We need groups like this,” said Anthony DeCresenzo, president of the 13th Avenue Board of Trade, an organization representing more than 300 merchants on the avenue. Malliotakis and Golden both talked about the importance of making life easier for small business owners in order to help boost the economy. “Up in Albany, we are working together on a repeal of the MTA payroll tax and regulations that are burning up small businesses,” Malliotkais said. “Business owners face challenges staying open,” Golden added. “It’s still a tough time. Businesses that had full time workers now they have part time workers.” Merchants often face obstacles thrown at them by governmental agencies lacking foresight, Golden said, adding that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s elimination of bus lines last year had an adverse affect on businesses. “If you have a business in front of a bus stop and now there’s no bus stop, no people are coming in,” he said. “The MTA has no idea what they do to businesses. The backbone of our economy is small businesses.” Community leaders understand the need to help businesses, according to Fran Vella‐Marrone, president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association. “We want to make sure our small businesses in the area thrive in the community,” she said. Joanne Seminara, chair of Community Board 10, said she’d like to see a thriving partnership between the residential and business communities. “The business community is such an important thread,” she said.
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