Flushing’s Economy: Challenges & Opportunities
Flushing's business community has grown dramatically over the past three decades, creating the fourth largest commercial district in New York City. In addition to its role as a regional transportation hub and shopping magnet, Flushing has become a major center for health care, finance and other professional services. However, Flushing’s future prosperity is at risk as entrepreneurs struggle with external challenges and lack of assistance.
Community Profile May 2013
Major Findings: Small firms dominate Flushing’s business community; 80% of the businesses employ ten or fewer workers. The majority of firms in Flushing are new; 56% have been in business for less than six years. In addition to the large retail and restaurant sectors, we found a robust “second-floor economy” made up primarily of professional service providers. The biggest challenges facing Flushing are externallydriven: lack of parking and transit, street congestion, escalating rents, and increased fines from regulators. Most firms in Flushing remain unaware of the business assistance agencies that are supposed to help them. Recommendations: Support a diverse Flushing economy. End unfair policies that target small businesses. Generate more data on Flushing’s economy. Increase presence of business assistance programs. Promote language access and English education. Create a chamber of commerce in Flushing.
A report published by Asian Americans for Equality, Inc.
Table of Contents Background & Methodology What Products/Services are Offered? How are Products/Services Delivered? Number of Employees Age of Businesses & Role of Respondent Ethnicity & Language Location Challenges Awareness of Business Assistance Agencies Recommendations Acknowledgements
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Flushing Economy 1
Background Flushing is home to one of the most diverse and dynamic neighborhoods in New York City. From the 1657 Flushing Remonstrance — which set a precedent for the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — to its emergence as a center for commercial tree nurseries in early America, to its role as a station on the Underground Railroad and the establishment of the first public high school in New York, Flushing has a rich history as a community that has welcomed people of different cultures and faiths from around the world. Beginning in the 19th century, Flushing’s agricultural economy was transformed into a regional transportation and commercial hub with the introduction of steamboat service (1822), trolley service (1896), rail service (1910), and subway service (1928). Municipal Parking Lot #1 — which Robert Moses built in 1954 after demolishing an existing African-American neighborhood — and a growing highway system paved the way for an auto-centric economy as well as migration into eastern Long Island and the surrounding suburbs. White flight accelerated in the 1970s and led to a slow decline in the business community. Many attribute the current revival of downtown Flushing to the immigrant entrepreneurs who settled in large numbers during the 1980s and 90s. Flushing's business community grew quickly over the past three decades and created the fourth largest central business district in New York City.1 However, its future is uncertain as entrepreneurs face a daunting array of external challenges: escalating rents, targeted enforcement, and displacement by major development projects. The redevelopment of Muni Lot 1 in particular will not only sharply increase competition from national chains, but also dramatically reduce affordable parking — a critical resource for many of the mom-and-pop stores and professional service firms in downtown Flushing.
Purpose This report presents a snapshot of the socio-economic diversity of Flushing’s business community and documents the challenges faced by its entrepreneurs, managers, and workers. Our multi-lingual questionnaires and door-to-door survey teams provided an opportunity for small businesses to voice their concerns — many for the first time. Our survey was prompted by the lack of detailed knowledge of Flushing’s business community,
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especially by those who set our City’s economic development policy. We seek to build a more nuanced and complex understanding of a community often marginalized as a “Chinatown” — a “model minority” neighborhood that officials overlook when allocating resources for business assistance. We hope our report will spur policymakers to rethink the way resources are invested in the City to assist small business owners, especially those struggling in neighborhoods like Flushing.
Methodology During the summer and fall of 2012, we contacted over a thousand businesses along commercial corridors in the two primary Flushing zip codes: 11354 and 11355. We covered concentrations of businesses in downtown Flushing as well as Northern Boulevard (toward Murray Hill), and Main Street (toward the Horace Harding Expressway). English, Chinese, and Korean language questionnaires were distributed and collected by survey teams who spoke English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Spanish. Our survey was also publicized and distributed through local news outlets, email lists, neighborhood events, social media networks, and community associations in the Flushing area. The findings in this report reflect the answers provided in the 400 questionnaires we collected as well as follow-up discussions and focus group meetings with business owners. Most of the survey responses came from interviews conducted by our survey teams, who went door-to-door to fill out questionnaires for individual owners, managers, and workers. Survey teams would often return to a business multiple times to interview those who had been absent in prior visits or to collect questionnaires completed by business owners themselves. We found self-reported questionnaires were not as complete as the ones filled out during interviews. While most people spoke basic English, ensuring the accuracy of responses was a challenge in a business community where 21 languages are spoken. In addition, some industries were more difficult than others when it came to eliciting survey responses — dine-in restaurants, in particular, with large numbers of customers and limited-English speaking workers, were generally less responsive than other businesses. The existence of multiple firms in the same location further complicated our data collection and analysis — since ownership and cost-sharing were not always apparent.
What Products & Services are Offered in Flushing? Figure 1: What Do You Sell? (Data from 2012 One Flushing survey)
What’s Offered in Flushing? Flushing has a complex and diverse economy, with no single industry accounting for more than 20% of all businesses. This complicates Flushing’s well-earned, but one-dimensional, reputation as a neighborhood best known for good, inexpensive food from around the world. Because our survey went beyond the street-level storefronts, we were able to see a more nuanced portrait of Flushing’s business community. We found many other industries doing business in Flushing alongside the food industry — part of a synergistic web of firms that rely on each other for survival. Offering a full spectrum of products and services, Flushing has become a one-stop destination for consumers with multiple needs. Figure 1 categorizes firms by the types of products and services they offer. For example, while we recognize that they are very different businesses, we grouped pharmacies and medical offices together under the “Health” category. Similarly, supermarkets and restaurants were placed together in the “Food” category. For a complete description of each category, please go to www.oneflushing.org.
In our survey, the two sectors with the largest concentration of firms were “Health” and “Food” (as noted in Figure 1, each sector had 63 businesses in our survey). They were followed by businesses that sell “Core Products” — defined as products likely to be used in everyday life, including clothing and other consumer goods. Other types of businesses that appeared often in our survey include those offering “Beauty Services,” (such as day spas, hair salons, and massage parlors), and other professional services like “Legal and Consulting Services” and “Financial Services.” This diversity of industries reflects the complex nature of Flushing’s economy. For example, our results suggest the existence of what we call a “second-floor economy” — a growing web of professional service firms not evident at street level. Many industries with a large presence in Flushing, especially medical and other professional offices, are located in the upper floors of commercial buildings. In fact, our survey results reflect the emergence of a regional healthcare hub, offering services in a wide range of practices, including traditional Chinese medicine. These industries have the most room to grow if development patterns continue (i.e., more high-rise commercial towers are built).
Flushing Economy 3
How are Products & Services Delivered in Flushing? Figure 2: What Do You Sell? (Data from 2012 One Flushing survey)
How are Products/Services Delivered? We found more evidence of a diverse business community when categorizing survey respondents on how their products or services are delivered. Figure 2 categorizes different businesses in Flushing by considering how each firm fulfills a consumer’s need. In this chart (unlike Figure 1), medical offices and pharmacies would fall under different categories. The former would be a “Professional Service,” while the latter would fall under “Retail” (since their primary function is to distribute drugs directly to consumers). Similarly, this chart distinguishes between a dine-in “Restaurant,” a “Food Vendor” (offering ready-to-eat food with less wait time), and a “Market” (where one might buy ingredients to prepare food on one’s own). For complete descriptions of each category, please go to www.oneflushing.org. As we discussed in the previous section, Flushing’s economy is more complicated than is widely assumed. Figure 2 is dominated by “Professional Services” such as doctors’, lawyers’, accountants’ and consultants’ offices,
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which accounted for almost 40% of the businesses in Flushing using this criterion. This finding is in line with the results from Figure 1, which show that a significant subset of Flushing’s economy is made up of medical, legal, financial, and consulting services. On the other hand, there were only 23 “Restaurants” (full-service dining establishments with wait staff) in our survey results. This indicates a methodological bias against certain industries, especially restaurants that may have been too busy to respond to our survey. Nevertheless, our results do show once again that there is more to Flushing’s economy than simply food and restaurants. As we will discuss later in this report, Flushing has become a hub for professional services— part of a dense urban ecology of businesses that rely on each other for survival.
Number of Employees Flushing has one of the highest concentrations of small businesses in New York. 80% of the firms in the Flushing community employ ten or fewer employees. By comparison, small firms account for 61% of all businesses in New York State and 55% nationwide.2 Survey respondents were asked to identify how many employees their business had, including unpaid family members. We found that 63% of businesses had five or fewer employees, while 17% had between five and ten employees. These findings echo those of the New York State Comptroller, who in a September 2011 report, found that 76% of Flushing’s businesses employed fewer than five employees and “nearly 90 percent of [Flushing’s] businesses had fewer than ten employees, which was a much higher rate than in the State and the nation.”2
During our survey, several businesses expressed a need for more workers (especially those with bilingual skills). They also reported difficulty identifying and hiring skilled workers. These findings suggest that some Flushing firms may be understaffed. Flushing firms might also be shortstaffed because many operate at low profit margins and cannot hire additional employees. The gap between our findings and those reported by the State Comptroller may point to methodological differences. The Comptroller, for instance, used U.S. Census statistics while our report analyzed the results of a door-to-door survey conducted over a five-month period. We also included religious and cultural institutions in our survey — “businesses” that usually don’t show up in economic statistics. Response rates may have also varied depending on the size of each firm surveyed. Smaller businesses , for example, may have had less time or capacity to respond to surveys.
Small Firms Dominate the Flushing Business Community
Figure 3: Number of Employees per Firm (Data from 2012 One Flushing survey)
Flushing Economy 5
Age of Businesses We asked businesses how long they had been in operation (at the current location). We found that a majority — 220 or 53% — had been in existence for 5 or fewer years. 86 businesses (21%) had been in operation between 6 and 10 years, 55 businesses
Figure 4: Number of Years in Business (Data from 2012 One Flushing survey)
burdensome regulations, fierce competition (especially from new development projects), and targeted enforcement by regulatory agencies tasked with increasing revenues from business fines. Roles of Respondents We found a plurality of the respondents — 159 or 41% — were workers at the businesses we visited. By comparison, 120 were managers and supervisors (31%) and 113 were owners and partners (29%). There are more self-identified workers because they are usually the first person our survey teams encountered at each business. However, almost 60% of the survey respondents were managers or owners. Two hypotheses may account for this finding. The majority of Flushing firms are small — 80% have ten or fewer employees, including the owner — and may require more frequent on-site supervision by owners and management.
(13%) had been in operation between 11 and 20 years, and only 51 businesses (12%) had been around for more than 20 years. These results suggest two opposing interpretations. The high number of newer businesses in Flushing may exemplify the prosperity and growth highlighted by the State Comptroller’s 2011 report: “the number of businesses in Flushing grew by 37.6 percent between 2000 and 2009” versus 5.7 percent in the rest of the city.2 Entrepreneurs are attracted to Flushing because of past infrastructure investments that promote population density, link Long Island and the Bronx, and generate pedestrian traffic that brings a huge multicultural consumer base. However, infrastructure upgrades have not kept up with growth — resulting in overcrowded transit, traffic congestion, etc. — conditions that hurt existing firms. Instead of economic growth, the relatively large number of newer businesses might suggest a high turnover rate in Flushing. Those who aspire to become entrepreneurs face other barriers to success, including: limited English capacity, complicated and
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Figure 5: Role of Respondent (Data from 2012 One Flushing survey)
Another explanation may be methodological. Workers tended to defer to managers and owners if they were present, perhaps because the workers were uncomfortable answering questions about the business posed by strangers. If the business owner was not on site, workers often did not complete our survey but usually passed along a copy to the owner. This may have contributed to the high number of owners and managers in the survey.
Flushing’s “day-laborer” population — men who stand on street corners along Northern Boulevard and College Point Boulevard in downtown Flushing waiting for temporary work. Language This report identifies 21 languages spoken within the Flushing business community (Figure 7).
Figure 6: Self-Identification by Ethnicity (Data from 2012 One Flushing survey)
Ethnicity We found 31 different ethnicities in the Flushing business community (Figure 6). The largest groups were those who self-identified as Chinese (65%), followed by Koreans (18%), and then a range of backgrounds representing cultures from around the world, including one street vendor who insisted on being called “American.”
The English language represented 39% of the total languages reported in our survey. Various Chinese dialects (primarily Mandarin and Cantonese) constitute 44% of the languages spoken. The Korean language represented the third major spoken language (11%), especially along commercial corridors around Union Street and Northern Boulevard in downtown Flushing. Other languages reported in our survey of the Flushing business community include (in order of percentage): Spanish, Urdu, French, Punjabi, Hindi, Malay, Italian, Farsi, Hebrew, Pashto, Indonesian, Bengali, Tagalog, Greek, and Russian.
Our “word cloud” indicates a striking diversity of ethnic groups in the Flushing business community. Even among those who identified as ethnically Chinese, there are differences between those from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the various provinces of mainland China. In addition, we observed a fast-growing community of ethnic Koreans from China, with restaurants along Union Street and other commercial corridors in downtown Flushing. These Chinese-Koreans have leveraged their bilingualism and familiarity with both cultures to establish a foothold in the business community, marketing to both groups. Another large, but often-overlooked group is Latino immigrants from Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and other parts of Latin America. While Latinos own a number of businesses in downtown Flushing, many are also low-wage workers who work at the back of restaurants and other businesses. They also comprise part of
Figure 7: Self-Identification by Language (Data from 2012 One Flushing survey)
We used word clouds to represent the relative scale and number of ethnicities and languages because traditional graphing methods made it difficult to see the smaller ethnic and language groups that exist in downtown Flushing.
Flushing Economy 7
Location Flushing businesses are concentrated in commercial corridors on Main and Union streets (between Northern Boulevard and Sanford Avenue), Roosevelt Avenue (between College Point Boulevard and Bowne Street), Farrington Street (north of Northern Boulevard), and an area west of College Point Boulevard (between 41st Avenue and Sanford Avenue) where hardware and light industrial firms have clustered around a Home Depot. The concentration of firms in these dense commercial corridors is clearly evident at street-level. However, in the process of collecting our data, we encountered a fastgrowing “second-floor economy” of professional services in Flushing, including medical, legal, and financial offices as well as a growing cluster of beauty salons, spas, and massage parlors. As these industries expand, density will also increase in the commercial corridors identified. These corridors are directly impacted by transportation infrastructure (i.e., rail, bus, subway, highways, parking)
as well as zoning codes designating certain areas for highdensity commercial development. Pedestrian and vehicular traffic are expected to increase as additional development projects are completed in Flushing. There is already intense overcrowding on the 7 Train, while the modernization of the Main Street LIRR station remains stalled. Continued investment and upgrades to the transportation infrastructure will be critical to the future health and vitality of Flushing’s business community. Another characteristic of Flushing is the frequency of subleasing and other space sharing arrangements in response to the escalating cost of commercial rent. We observed multiple firms doing business in the same office or storefront, with each company using a small section or just a single desk. Space-sharing arrangements allow a variety of different businesses to cooperate in a highly competitive market. In addition to sharing space, overhead costs, and other resources, they also attract multiple customers to the same space — essentially becoming one-stop “shops” where consumers can access a variety of products and services in one trip.
Transportation & Zoning Key to Flushing Commercial Development Figure 8: Location of Flushing businesses (Data from 2012 One Flushing survey)
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Lack of Parking/Transit is Leading Challenge for Businesses Figure 9: Biggest Challenges Facing Businesses (Data from 2012 One Flushing survey)
Challenges The biggest challenges facing Flushing’s community are external to business operations: lack of parking and transit capacity, escalating rents, extreme traffic and pedestrian congestion, increasing utility bills and government fines as well as the lack of skilled, bilingual workers (Figure 9). Conversely, legal costs, health care, insurance, access to loans, and access government contracts were the least challenging problems facing Flushing firms. One of the competitive advantages of the Flushing business community is its proximity to mass transit, highways, and airports as well as the role played by its municipal parking lots in providing easy and affordable access to customers from around the region. However, increased density means more congestion in downtown Flushing—the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, for example, has the highest pedestrian traffic outside of Manhattan.1 Many of the firms surveyed in this report expressed anxiety about the redevelopment of Municipal Parking Lot #1, which was sold by the City to make way for a luxury condo, retail, and office complex.
Another major challenge identified in our survey is skyrocketing rents resulting from rapid development and the corresponding increase in property values. For example, a small restaurant on 40th Road would have to pay $10,000 in rent plus a portion of the property tax every month to remain in operation. As discussed in the previous section, high rents have forced many firms to share space in cramped commercial buildings. Shoe stores, for example, might be paired with those selling bubble tea or lottery tickets in the same storefront. Similarly, a tour operator might share an office with an insurance agent in this “second-floor economy.” Rising utility bills and targeted enforcement by regulators were also identified as challenges for Flushing’s business community. Many business owners complained about the frequent fines issued by multiple inspectors, sometimes with conflicting regulations. A perception that immigrant entrepreneurs were singled out and targeted by City agencies was confirmed by the NYC Public Advocate, who documented disproportionately higher fines in neighborhoods outside Manhattan.3
Flushing Economy 9
Knowledge of Business Resources Few entrepreneurs in Flushing are aware of the business resources available to them. When asked if they were familiar with the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) — the primary municipal agency responsible for assisting small business owners — fewer than 25% of respondents answered affirmatively. Awareness of other business assistance agencies was even lower (Figure 10).
One factor could be language. According to our survey, 55% of the languages spoken in the Flushing business community are either a Chinese dialect (primarily Mandarin or Cantonese) or Korean. Unfortunately, most government agencies — including the nearest NYC Business Solutions Center in Jamaica, Queens — have no staff who speak these languages. Few business assistance agencies, with the exception of REDC, offer materials translated into these languages.
This lack of awareness on the part of entrepreneurs could be attributed to the absence of a NYC Business Solutions Center (SBS’s business assistance arm) in downtown Flushing — a neighborhood with one of the highest concentrations of small business owners in New York City (Figure 3). However, the Flushing Business Improvement District (BID), the Small Business Congress, the Flushing Local Development Corporation (FCWPLDC), and Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC) all have a physical presence in Flushing yet scored much lower in our recognition survey. What else could be driving this lack of awareness among business owners?
We found that many business owners in Flushing still rely heavily on traditional ethnic networks — often based on regional, religious, or familial ties (i.e., Korean Christian churches). These networks, which many immigrant entrepreneurs relied on for information and funding in the past, may not have the capacity to address the rapidly changing nature of Flushing’s economy — especially when the biggest challenges facing business owners are driven by external factors. Additionally, Flushing has no overall chamber of commerce that can coordinate information sharing across ethnic networks and advocate on behalf of the entire community.
Most Firms in Flushing Lack Knowledge of Businesses Assistance Programs Figure 10: Number of Respondents Familiar with Each Business Assistance Agency (Data from 2012 One Flushing survey)
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Conclusion and Recommendations Flushing isn’t all about great restaurants and shopping. Contrary to the “Chinatown” portrayed by mainstream media, Flushing is an ethnically-diverse community with a modern professional service sector — one that addresses a wide range of health, financial, legal, beauty, and recreational needs. Many of these professional services are located in Flushing’s less-visible, but growing “secondfloor economy” — high above downtown storefronts and street vendors. This mix of retail and professional services underpins Flushing’s resiliency as well as the tax revenues generated for City, State, and Federal coffers. If we fail to address many of the externally-driven challenges reported in our survey, we risk killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. The following recommendations can help put us back on track to ensuring a strong, diverse, and sustainable community.
rules and regulations. One stationery store owner said that he was fined $300 for each missing price tag — the little stickers put on manually by many storekeepers. Restaurant owners received similar fines for leaving traditional foods like kimchee outside required temperature ranges. Additionally, limited English speakers often found it hard to communicate with inspectors or to understand the rules. Small business owners also reported not having the time to contest fines after the fact. The Public Advocate has confirmed the perception that City inspectors disproportionately target businesses in neighborhoods outside Manhattan: over the past decade, those in Queens not only faced more inspections but paid higher fines.3 We need to end discriminatory policies that target small business owners in neighborhoods like Flushing and instead push for policies that prioritize education over enforcement. Recommendation 3:
Generate More Data to Better Understand Flushing’s Economy
Flushing’s unique concentration and diversity of small businesses provided a stable foundation for waves of entrepreneurs to enter the middle class. However, this ecosystem is sensitive to escalating rents and the lack of transit infrastructure, two of the biggest challenges reported by our survey respondents. When the City decided to redevelop Muni Lot 1 into a luxury condo and shopping complex, many merchants considered leaving because the disappearance of affordable parking means the loss of their customer base. To limit displacement in Flushing, policymakers should utilize innovative programs and infrastructure upgrades. For example, a tax system that lowers rates for businesses in proportion to the length of time they remain in a specific location would help reduce displacement. We also echo the Partnership for NYC’s call for a less Manhattan-centric transportation system.4 An infusion of funds into Queens’ infrastructure — similar to the $2 billion in City capital used to expand the No. 7 Train into Manhattan’s Westside — would greatly improve the long-term prospects of small businesses in Flushing.
Our survey was prompted by the lack of detailed knowledge of Flushing’s business community, especially by those who set our City’s economic development policy. Our grassroots, door-to-door survey of Flushing businesses was a very basic and preliminary step towards a more comprehensive understanding of on-the-ground community concerns. Future research should continue to explore community perspectives on local challenges as well as possible solutions, with special effort made to reach out to groups of people underrepresented in our survey. These may include individuals with linguistic barriers as well as consumers and residents.
Support a Diverse Flushing Economy
End Unfair Enforcement of Business Rules Business owners in our survey felt they were unfairly targeted by inspectors from multiple agencies, each with their own set of confusing (and sometimes conflicting)
Increase the Presence of Business Assistance Agencies in Flushing Business assistance programs are vital resources for NYC entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, Flushing is the only major commercial district without a government-sponsored small business assistance center.5 These agencies should have a physical presence in Flushing as well as expand language access to limited-English speakers. This could be done through partnerships with existing communitybased organizations (similar to the placement of Workforce1 centers in public libraries). At the same time, community leaders need to advocate for a fair share of resources for struggling businesses in Flushing.
Flushing Economy 11
Expand Language Access Resources Businesses recognize the importance of language — the need for skilled bilingual workers ranked as a top concern. English-speaking workers can help cater to a diverse clientele and expand the customer base of many firms. However, language learning opportunities are limited. The Flushing Library’s Adult Learning Center, for example, has a free English program but can only accept 30 of the 500 candidates who regularly apply. Business assistance programs should help entrepreneurs who wish to translate their menus, signage, and catalogs into other languages. Policymakers should invest more resources to expand existing capacity and encourage partnerships between educators and business groups. Recommendation 6:
Build a Chamber of Commerce in Flushing Unlike other commercial districts, Flushing lacks a central chamber of commerce that coordinates information sharing and support services. Flushing’s diversity of languages and reliance on ethnic networks has made it especially difficult to raise awareness about the assistance programs available to struggling business owners. We urge business leaders and policymakers to support the establishment of an umbrella chamber of commerce that works with traditional ethnic networks to educate entrepreneurs about business rules and regulations as well as the resources available to them.
References 1. NYC Department of Transportation (2012). “Downtown Flushing Mobility and Safety Improvement Project,” @ http://goo.gl/V0dhX. 2. NYS Comptroller (2011). “An Economic Snapshot of Flushing, Queens,” @ http://goo.gl/ZtaEU. 3. NYC Public Advocate (2013). “Borough Bia$,” @ http://goo.gl/GpwrI. 4. Partnership for NYC (2013). “NYC Jobs Blueprint,” @ http://goo.gl/Gxiay. 5. Center for an Urban Future (2013). “Launching LowIncome Entrepreneurs,” @ http://goo.gl/oe0xg.
Acknowledgements John Choe and Xiang Siow analyzed the survey data and wrote this report with editorial assistance from Douglas Nam Le, who created the map on page 8. Our survey teams included Don Capalbi, John Choe, Renming Feng, Gage Jung, Phillip Jun Kim, Taehoon Kim, Young Jae Kim, Jonathan Lee, Jefferson Mao, Christopher Ng, Michael Peralta, Jocelyn Pizarro, Jeong Soo Shin, Xiang Siow, Daniel Sung, Karen Wu, and Kristy Yeung. This report was made possible by generous support from the New York City Council, the NYC Department of Small Business Services, and JPMorgan Chase. This publication can be viewed online at www.oneflushing.org. For more information, please contact John Choe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Asian Americans for Equality, Inc. Established in 1974, Asian Americans for Equality, Inc. (AAFE) grew out of a successful grassroots campaign to end discriminatory hiring practices in the construction of the federally-financed Confucius Plaza housing complex in Manhattan’s Chinatown. AAFE now serves families throughout the five boroughs with a comprehensive, multicultural approach to community development. For more information, go to www.aafe.org.
About One Flushing AAFE launched One Flushing in December 2011 to empower small business owners and local residents with technical assistance, policy research, grassroots advocacy, and innovative strategies that expand economic opportunities for all. One Flushing has initiated entrepreneurship training seminars, job fairs, creative placemaking projects, and cross-cultural collaborations with civic, cultural, and faith-based groups to build a strong, diverse, and sustainable community. For more information, go to www.oneflushing.org.
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Published on May 1, 2013
Flushing's business community has grown dramatically over the past three decades, creating the fourth largest commercial district in New Yor...