White Plains Business Improvement District 2020 ANNUAL REPORT
Message from the Chairwoman and the Executive Director This year was unlike any other
in recent history, not only for our community, but for those all around the world. A global pandemic and the necessary measures to control it in 2020 suspended our normal way of life â&#x20AC;&#x201C; how we work, shop, travel, care for our families, and socialize. The turbulence brought by COVID-19 required all to change, adapt and improvise at a rapid pace to protect their lives, businesses, properties, residences and communities from significant hardships and loss. This report highlights the White Plains BIDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s efforts to revamp our services and mobilize our resources to aid our downtown business community during its greatest hour of need. In late March, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, was signed into law. This legislation provided over $2 trillion in economic relief to individuals and businesses struggling with the impacts of COVID-19. The WPBID conducted extensive outreach efforts to inform businesses and property owners about the availability of these funds and how to access them. It was vital that the local businesses take advantage of the available programs offered. To augment the aid provided by the CARES Act, we developed the BID COVID-19 Assistance Program (BIDCAP). This multipronged initiative provided meals to front line workers, food orders for downtown restaurants struggling with plummeting sales, and incentives for consumers to make purchases at downtown establishments.
Bonnie Silverman, Chairwoman
The BIDCAP program provided over 4,500 meals to first responders and essential workers, and $31,509 in matching funds to downtown restaurants. It also generated $28,014 in gift card purchases, which was matched by another $28,014 from the WPBID. As 2020 progressed, we turned to our partners at the City of White Plains and Westchester County Government to modify existing ordinances and regulations to make it easier for downtown businesses to operate in this new environment safely. Meters were bagged throughout the downtown to assist take-out, delivery service and curbside pickup. CafĂŠ regulations were amended and permits fees reduced to facilitate outdoor dining and a law limiting third-party delivery fees to 15% of the food order was adopted to enhance the economic viability of food service businesses. Creativity and innovation guided the reshaping of our events and marketing efforts to make them more feasible and appropriate in the COVID-19 environment. Events like Cinco de Mayo, Oktoberfest and JazzFest went virtual, drive-in movies were developed for residents, and social media was leveraged more than ever to bring people together while apart. We firmly believe that during the last year, we proved not only our ability to withstand unforeseen challenges, but also the value of the WPBID to the economic and social fabric of the downtown community.
Brittany B. Brandwein, Executive Director
At a Glance Founded in 1998, the White Plains Downtown District Management Association is a non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation that offers supplemental services to the White Plains Central Business District to enhance its economic, social, and cultural landscape. The White Plains Downtown District Management Association is referenced as the WPBID in this report. The WPBID is managed by a Board of Directors elected by the members of the district. The Board includes commercial property owners, commercial tenants, city residents and public officials. Funds to pay for the WPBID’s programs and services are generated from special assessments paid by property owners within the district (BID). The assessments are billed and collected by the City and then disbursed to the WPBID, which in turn delivers services and programs to the district. The WPBID also raises revenue through special events, sponsorships, grant writing, and other activities. There are 14 tax parcels within the BID that are over 100,000 square feet in gross commercial and retail floor area. These parcels account for 52% of all BID Assessments. The remaining 127 tax parcels account for 48% of BID Assessments.
WPBID Expenses July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 With Staff Time Allocated to Expenses 1.64% 15.16%
Business Outreach & Promotion BIDCAP Management & General Fundraising Expenses Street Beautification Special Events*
* 36% of Special Event expenses are offset by sponsorships
WPBID Revenue July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020
Number of BID businesses
Total Gross Floor Area (sq. ft.)
Total BID Assessments
Event Sponsorships Grants & Corp. Contributions Temporary Restricted Revenue Advertising Interest Other
Total Number of BID Tax Parcels
300+ 5,843,330 $ 700,000 141
Average BID Assessment
Average BID Assessment excluding parcels > 100,000 sq. ft.
Source: White Plains BID
WPBID Programs: 4.85%
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COVID-19 Assistance Program (BIDCAP) Outreach and Liaison services Social Media & Other Marketing Special Events Street Cleaning and Beautification 3
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BID COVID-19 Assistance Program (BIDCAP) In early March 2020, the first cases of the COVID-19 pandemic began to show up in New York State. On March 18, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order requiring all non-essential business to reduce occupancy by 50%. On March 19, all non-essential businesses were required to reduce capacity to 25% and on March 20, 2020 the Governor ordered all non-essential businesses to close. These orders were accompanied by several state and national orders to limit the number of people that could gather on public streets, as well as in private sector businesses, not-for-profit organizations, places of public assembly and houses of worship. Nonessential businesses were required to operate under strict state guidelines. For example, restaurants could only serve food via pick-up and delivery. Brittany Brandwein, left, presenting The Banh Mi Shop By April 2020, New York State had become the owner Len Dang with their matching contribution epicenter in the United States of the global COVID-19 pandemic. supplements existing Federal, State and City efforts The WPBID moved quickly to revamp its resources to support businesses dealing with the impact of and programs. The goal was to complement the pandemic. BIDCAP had four major components. emerging national, state, county and city efforts to First, the WPBID partnered with Caring for COVID, assist businesses that were struggling to address a grassroots effort to support local White Plains new regulations designed to slow the spread of the restaurants, while simultaneously helping the escalating pandemic and plummeting sales. people that are on the front line fighting the virus. On April 23, 2020 the WPBID announced the Downtown White Plains had nearly 100 restaurants establishment of its COVID-19 Assistance Program at the beginning of 2020. These businesses are (BIDCAP) to support businesses in the downtown essential to the ongoing vibrancy and economic district. BIDCAP is a multifaceted initiative that competitiveness of the downtown. Caring for COVID had alreadyÂ raised more than $25,000 in cash and contributions, which was used to make food purchases at downtown restaurants and coordinate delivery to emergency responders. The WPBID helped raise an additional $31,509 and decided to match those goods with 6
Danielle Foti, left, dropping off PPE, parking codes, and window poster to Petula Griffith, owner of The Foot Care RN
BIDCAP by the numbers
Raised and used to purchase meals for frontline workers
Provided in matching funds to downtown restaurants
additional contributions that would be invested back into small businesses within the BID. Secondly, through BIDCAP, the WPBID committed to subsidizing gift card purchases at participating downtown businesses, allowing consumers to buy gift cards at half price. Customers could purchase gift certificates for up to $200 at half cost and the WPBID underwrites the balance for the participating business. The program offers customers a great incentive to shop downtown and support their local business community, and business owners receive much needed revenue during the COVID-19 crisis. Thirdly, through BIDCAP, the WPBID paid for 100 hours of free parking for participating small businesses that are located downtown. This initiative was designed to make it easier for people to patronize downtown businesses as emergency order regulations are lifted. Parkers must use the ParkWhitePlains app to pay for their parking. Each participating business was then given special codes that they could distribute to their customers as a credit towards their paid parking fee. Finally, through BIDCAP, the WPBID initiated a marketing campaign to promote our downtown businesses and encourage city residents and workers to support the local business community. BIDCAP was well received by the downtown business community. This initiative, coupled with the WPBIDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s marketing and business promotions, distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) and government advocacy and liaison services, were part of a comprehensive effort made by the WPBID to realign its resources to address the extraordinary need for help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meals delivered to front line workers and people in need
Restaurants supported through the BIDCAP Caring for Covid effort
Stimulated in gift card purchases at BID businesses
Subsidized funds for half-priced gift card purchases
Small businesses enrolled in BIDCAP in 2020
Parking vouchers provided to 11 downtown businesses
Masks distributed to 40+ businesses Face shields to over 7 close-contact businesses
Outreach and Liaison Services The first quarter of 2020 began the most turbulent year for business since the 1930’s. The year started with an array of government mandates to control the wide-spreading COVID-19 pandemic. It was critical that these regulations be known and understood by the BID businesses. The WPBID invested a considerable amount of time and effort to inform the downtown business community about the various regulations impacting them. This was accomplished through direct emails, social media, the WPBID website and the WPBID newsletter. There were 87 email campaigns sent in 2020 to the approximately 300 BID businesses, which resulted in a 39% open rate and 16% Click-Through rate. This dedicated reach out was a key benefit and helpful asset to BID members in 2020. The WPBID conducted a parallel outreach effort to inform White Plains residents and area consumers about the businesses that remained open and their hours of operation, as well as the WPBID’s incentives for shopping downtown through the WPBID’s BIDCAP program (see page 11). Effective March 16, 2020, NYS ordered the closure of all bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and casinos throughout the state. Restaurants were permitted to continue take-out and delivery service, including the sale of to-go alcohol. These regulations lasted for several weeks and were then followed up with stringent regulations limiting the number of patrons that could enter and remain within an establishment. As a result of these mandates, restaurant sales plummeted and many were forced to cease operations until they were relaxed. With approximately 100 restaurants located within the downtown district, the WPBID worked with City 8
officials to advocate for and implement temporary changes to city regulations to aid this vital downtown business sector. At the outset of the closures, the WPBID developed a plan with the city to bag parking meters in front of downtown restaurants to facilitate take-out, delivery service and curbside pickup. Retail businesses were subsequently regulated and able to utilize curbside pickup spots as well. Additionally, the City also allowed sandwich boards and other signs to be placed, advertising that a business was open for take-out and delivery service free of charge. On March 20, the Governor issued an executive order indicating: All businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state shall utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely utilize. Each employer shall reduce the in-person workforce at any work locations by 50%.
The terms “essential” and “non-essential” businesses began to be defined and the WPBID helped our members decipher where they fit in this new world. On March 27, 2020 the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, was signed into law. The CARES act provided over $2 trillion in economic relief to individuals and businesses struggling with the impacts of COVID-19. The WPBID conducted an extensive effort to inform the downtown business community about the availability of this assistance, timelines for filing and the application process. In addition, the WPBID provided links to various webinars conducted by accountants, economic development
The WPBID has been a vital source of information and a strong advocate for downtown businesses during the trying economic times wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. organizations, financial institutions and government agencies where downtown business owners could further understand the requirements for applying for EIDL and PPP loans. In June, the City worked with the WPBID to temporarily amend the city’s sidewalk café ordinance to permit additional and expanded sidewalk dining and to significantly lower permit fees. This initiative was very popular and more than doubled the number of restaurants obtaining outdoor café permits. In July, the WPBID worked with the City to permit Sidewalk Sales every Wednesday through Saturday through October 9 from 10 AM to sunset. In addition, the city further amended its outdoor café ordinance through November 1, 2020 to allow use of the city’s right-of-way for “Street Cafés.” Street Cafés were defined as an outdoor dining area located in the right-of-way and comprising not more than three contiguous parking spaces. The WPBID has been a strong advocate for limiting the fees charged by food delivery companies. The fees charged by many of these services are exorbitant and significantly impact the thin profit margins of downtown restaurants. Nonetheless, many restaurants feel they must use such services to remain competitive. In May of 2020, the NYC Council approved a bill limiting the fees that could be charged by food delivery services to 15% of the costs of the order. The WPBID recognized
how vital this could be to restaurants struggling to stay open during the pandemic within White Plains. The WPBID obtained a copy of the NYC legislation and urged Westchester County Officials to adopt a similar bill. The WPBID was a strong supporter of a bill passed by the Westchester County Board of Legislators and signed into law by County Executive George Latimer in October 2020. The Westchester County legislation would remain in effect until 90 days after emergency orders regulating the operations of food service businesses were terminated. In addition to the above, the WPBID worked closely with the Westchester County Office of Economic Development in a major effort to distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to White Plains businesses. This was greatly appreciated by the businesses owners, as PPE equipment was extremely difficult to acquire yet much needed in order to remain open and provide a safe and secure environment for their customers. The WPBID has been a vital source of information and a strong advocate for downtown businesses during the trying economic times wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, WPBID Executive Director Brittany Brandwein was a guest speaker on a virtual Business Development Panel Discussion hosted by Westchester Community College to discuss helping “Main Street” pivot. The WPBID wishes to thank the City of White Plains and Westchester County Government who have worked very hard to do all that they can to support the downtown White Plains business community. We are truly appreciative of their efforts.
From right: White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach, WPBID Executive Director Brittany Brandwein, and County Executive George Latimer at an event to distribute PPE from Westchester County to White Plains businesses.
New Business Openings During 2020, the WPBID assisted 3 businesses with grand openings or rebranding celebrations. This work included coordinating ribbon cuttings with the Mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office, and distributing and in some cases drafting press releases. The goal of this activity is to bring widespread awareness to new attractive options in downtown White Plains.
Papiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Fast Italian (February)
Hastings Tea & Coffee Lounge (March)
Farida Skin Care Studio (June)
Social Media & Other Marketing OPEN FOR BUSINESS In March of 2020, shortly after the Governor ordered the shutdown of non-essential businesses in New York State, the WPBID compiled an ongoing list of open businesses in the downtown. With this list, people were encouraged to support our local business community during these difficult times. Restaurants, as essential businesses providing food, were one of the few establishments permitted to be open in some capacity. Initially, takeout and delivery were their only means of conducting business. As other storefronts began to open through the New York Forward Reopening Plan, fitness, retail, salons, spas and self-care businesses were added. Open for Business was placed on a page of the WPBID website, featured on the homepage, and in each weekly e-newsletter Discover Downtown White Plains. According to analytics, the Open for Business page of the WPBID website had 19,478 pageviews in 2020, 8,375 of which were unique pageviews. Throughout the year, this page was an important resource for the people of White Plains, with many returning to check for updates.
SOCIAL MEDIA With many events moving to the digital landscape and communities coming together online, social media marketing became a major asset for WPBIDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s promotions in 2020. Social media has been an effective tool for promoting downtown White Plains and capturing public interest in the area. The WPBID continues to regularly and consistently share posts from BID businesses and organizations to continue a conversation and increase interest and visibility for all events and happenings within the BID. At the end of 2020, the WPBIDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Facebook page had 4,240 likes, a 7.3% increase from the end of 2019. Twitter had a 7.6% increase in followers. Instagram had the greatest increase in followers with 1,104 at the end of 2020, an increase of 59.7% in the year over year comparison. On Twitter, the WPBID posted 154 total tweets in 2020, with an average of 498 impressions per tweet. On Facebook, there was a total of 184 posts, with an average 10% engagement rate, and 118 posts on Instagram resulting in a 9% engagement rate, far above industry standards. Average engagement rates for non-profits are 0.12% and 1.75% respectively. 11
Social Media & Other Marketing In 2020, the WPBID ran several themed contests, primarily around celebration days. These contests included a Mother’s Day contest and a Father’s Day contest on Facebook and Instagram. Followers tagged their mother or father in the comments to enter and a winner was randomly chosen from the entries. Prizes for both contests were three gift cards to various WPBID member businesses. The Mother’s Day contest received 44 entries, and the winner received $150 for Signature Acupuncture Studio, $50 for Pure Barre and $25 for Lilly’s. The Father’s Day contest received 11 entries and the winner received $50 for Gentleman’s Barber Spa, $50 for Westchester Road Runner and $50 for Wolf & Warrior Brewing Company. Prized gift cards to a variety of businesses within the BID were utilized as a way to guarantee sales within the downtown district. In 2020, WPBID ran two industry themed Bingo contests on Instagram and Facebook: Restaurant Bingo and Salons, Spas, and Self Care Bingo.
Followers messaged @whiteplains.bid for a unique Bingo card and would return to the WPBID pages to see the daily drawings in Stories. Facebook Business statistics show that 500 million people use Instagram stories and that it is a useful tool for brand awareness. The first person to message the WPBID with “Bingo” and their winning card received the prize. Restaurant Bingo had a total of 50 participants, with one winner receiving a $25 gift card to The Iron Tomato. Salons, Spas, and Self Care Bingo had 42 participants, with three winners receiving a $25 gift card to either DryBar, Fashion Diva Nails or Elements Massage. The WPBID made sure to include all businesses in these industry specific posts, and vary the businesses from which prizes are purchased. The WPBID requested member businesses to send special offers relating to celebratory times for us to highlight, including Halloween, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Due to a lack of in-person events, these posts were a way to involve member businesses in social media promotions and help the community feel connected. See the table below. DISCOVER DOWNTOWN WHITE PLAINS WPBID’s weekly email newsletter Discover Downtown White Plains regularly features events and promotions from the WPBID, local merchants and other interesting happenings in the city. This year, the WPBID’s Open for Business list was included in each newsletter, as well as an up-to-date list of businesses participating in BIDCAP. Discover Downtown White Plains was sent to more than 3,700 subscribers at the end of 2020, an increase of over 1,700 since the end of 2019. The WPBID released 52 weekly e-newsletters throughout 2020, plus 3 event specific email blasts. The average open rate was 22.3% and the average Click-Through Rate was 9.2%, above the industry standards for 2020 of 18% and 2.5% respectively.
Holiday Promotion of Special Offers Holiday
New Year's Eve
# of Business Specials
The WPBID gathered holiday specials from member businesses and highlighted them on social media.
WHITE PLAINS BID DINING GUIDE Restaurants are an important economic driver in our downtown, and comprise a large amount of our street level properties. They were also deemed essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, though still regulated to prevent the spread of the virus. The WPBID is fortunate to have so many restaurants downtown, as they are a perfect complement to the large amount of banking, government, and shopping centers in the area. Given the prominence of restaurants in the BID and their role in creating a distinct feel and brand for our downtown, the WPBID regularly attempts to market these businesses. One annual promotion is publishing and distributing the White Plains BID Dining Guide. The 2020 White Plains BID Dining Guide was comprised of a fold-out map showing the locations of each restaurant listed in the guide. The maps also show the locations of important business centers, public parking facilities, city hall and the city’s Metro North station and downtown bus terminal. In addition to location, the guide notes each restaurant’s price point and phone number. There were 91 restaurants and 3 pending opening in January 2020, from fine dining to fast casual. The WPBID published the 6th edition of the White Plains BID Dining Guide and printed 10,000 copies to be distributed in 2020. Dining Guides are given to hotels, government, residential and corporate buildings, and neighborhood organizations in and around White Plains. For the 2021 edition, the WPBID Dining Guide will be evolving to a digital interactive format.
OTHER MARKETING Promotions for WPBID’s Shop White Plains discount card program was paused in 2020 due to economic instability caused by COVID-19. The Google Ads remarketing campaign, an effort to bring returning visitors to our website, was shifted to a campaign to promote the WPBID’s Open for Business page. As a result, 43% of total pageviews on WPBID’s website were unique pageviews, meaning 57% of pageviews were returning visits. The WPBID’s weekly e-newsletter sent a current list of open businesses to 3,700+ subscribers.
From left: Michael Chiltern, owner of Wolf & Warrior Brewing Co.; Mayor Thomas Roach; WPBID Executive Director Brittany Brandwein.
Dine & Drive In showing of Grease on June 12.
Driving people downtown is a main goal of the White Plains BID and events that bring people together are a
large part of that. Unfortunately in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic all but eliminated the ability for organizations throughout New York to host large public events bringing people physically together. An executive order issued by Governor Cuomo on March 12, 2020 gave the directive requiring large gatherings and events to be cancelled or postponed if anticipated attendance was in excess of 500 people. It quickly was further amended in March to reduce attendance to fifty persons or less until further notice. In fact, all over the country, festivals were cancelled or rescheduled. The WPBID and its partners made the difficult decision to cancel the Saint Patrickâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day Parade, Downtown White Plains Wing Walk, Earth Day Event, the Answer to Cancer 5K Run, 2K Stroll and Block Party, Summer Concert Series, Rock White Plains, and the New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Eve Spectacular. Last year, the WPBID had to reshape the way we bring people together and help lift up the small businesses in the downtown who needed support more than ever. WPBID events reached over 35,000 people virtually. Many businesses utilized WPBID events during these trying times as a platform to help generate income, foster relationships with their customers, and attract potential new consumers.
Cyber de Mayo
Pivoting from the original plan of Cinco de Mayo celebrations in two different downtown locations, the WPBID hosted one of the first virtual events in the area with Cyber de Mayo. There was a live streaming performance on Facebook by Mariachi Sol Mixteco, cocktail and mocktail tutorials from a social media influencer and ideas presented for kids activities. The community was encouraged to get takeout or delivery from downtown White Plains and enjoy the virtual entertainment from the safety of their homes. Seven different BID food establishments offered takeout, delivery or curbside pickup specials since the Governor’s Executive Order at the time prohibited indoor dining at restaurants. Many BID restaurants and others across the state opted to remain closed during this time in the pandemic. Still, fun digital contests generated excitement and awarded winners with gift cards to downtown White Plains restaurants to help them gain new customers.
Cyber de Mayo streaming event viewers
Cyber de Mayo Scavenger Hunt: Participants had to identify restaurants from the Open for Business list that matched up with each question (i.e. word scrabble, GPS locations or picture puzzle). The first correct answer to each post via Facebook and/or Instagram won $25 gift certificates each to a BID restaurant.
Approximate Total reach Engagements
Live stream on Facebook of Mariachi Sol Mixteco
“Thank you for last night’s live streaming. I so enjoyed the program. I actually found myself smiling the entire time, and did that feel good! Thank you for all your efforts; they are much appreciated!” Alicia Foti from Latham, NY
Social media promotion of Cyber de Mayo special offers 16
Dine & Drive In
For the first time, the White Plains BID partnered with the City of White Plains to bring the drive-in movie experience to the city. Designed as a four part series, people were able to view a film from their car while socially distancing. The screenings took place in the Maple-Waller Lot in downtown White Plains and at White Plains High School. The inaugural showing on June 12 was dedicated to our late board member Paul Dillane. Local restaurants offered takeout specials to enhance the movie experience. The Dine and Drivein Summer series drew approximately 500 people to downtown safely. Ticket proceeds were donated to the White Plains BID/Caring for COVID partnership, the BIDCAP effort to support local White Plains restaurants while simultaneously helping feed front line workers. The White Plains BID matched every dollar donated to boost local businesses in the downtown district even further.
Hours it took for tickets to sell out for each movie
Ticket sales earned and donated to the BIDCAP/Caring for COVID effort
Approximate number of attendees over the course of three drive-in movies
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thank you so much for planning this event; I hope that pandemic aside you will continue these wonderful programs.â&#x20AC;? Hilary Remsen from Westchester, NY
White Plains JazzFest
In collaboration with Arts Westchester and the City of White Plains, the WPBID hosted a six-day virtual jazz music festival. Downtown restaurants participated by offering takeout and delivery specials to consume while viewers enjoyed the programming from home. A live Jazz Lunch weekend designed under the NYS regulations with limited outdoor seating at select restaurant venues downtown sold out. Themes discussed and presented through music included Jazz in the time of COVID-19, Jazz and Intergenerational Exchange, Jazz at the Intersections and Jazz’s Rising Stars. Jazz Lunches took place at Lilly’s, Hudson Grille, Brazen Fox and Via Garibaldi.
People reached via JazzFest virtual programming
People reached via streaming
Jazz Lunch Attendees
Downtown restaurants that featured JazzFest take out specials
“Very talented. We thoroughly enjoyed the session. Hope [they] are back again.” Valerie Nichols on Facebook
Jazz Lunch with Samara McLendon at Via Garibaldi
Jazz Lunch with Brian Carter Quartet at The Brazen Fox
One of the WPBID’s signature events went virtual in 2020 and expanded over a five-day period. The goal was to attract attention and drive sales to downtown businesses. The on-screen festival featured food and drink specials, activities for the entire family and virtual programming highlighting various businesses downtown. The festival kicked off with a virtual wine tasting from LeVino Wine Merchants. Wolf and Warrior Brewing Co. led a virtual beer tasting from their microbrewery. Participants of each purchased the wine and beer in advance and followed along from their homes. The OktoberFest programming also included a virtual cooking class with social media influencer and foodie Breakfast Ate Tiffany showcasing Walter’s Hot Dogs and a traditional German cheese dip Obazda. There was a German language class for kids in collaboration with the German International School located in White Plains and a family scavenger hunt to motivate people to come downtown at their leisure and notice what makes downtown White Plains special. Activities throughout the five-day festival included online contests with gift card giveaways and traditional Oktoberfest music recommendations.
Total viewers reached by streaming programming
Average engagement rate on 15 posts on Facebook Average engagement on 19 posts on Instagram
Competitions and winners
“Thank you LeVino! This was so cool considering we couldn’t do this in person.” Hank McD on Facebook
Shop Small White Plains & White Plains Holiday Market Small Business Saturday, an annual, nationwide day of recognition on the Saturday after Thanksgiving commenced the WPBIDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Shop Small initiative in 2020. Small businesses have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic because of the regulations to keep the virus at bay and lack of immediate resources to shift their normal way of work. In 2020 more than ever, it was important to encourage the community to support their business community. For every dollar spent at a small business, approximately 67 cents stays in the local community. The WPBID recruited 35 businesses in downtown White Plains to offer specials from Small Business Saturday on November 28 through the completion of the White Plains Holiday Market on December 13. Shop Small promotions included special menu items and products, discounts and package deals from local businesses. Free parking codes were also distributed to the public as a reward for posting about BID businesses on social media and independently owned, experiential restaurants were highlighted with an Instagram takeover by a Westchester based food blogger. The WPBID advertised the list of Shop Small offerings and developed an interactive map of downtown White Plains that pinpointed the Shop Small participants and the Holiday Market. The White Plains Holiday Market was a City of White Plains event in partnership with 914PopUps that took place from December 3 to December 13. The WPBID was the leading sponsor of this COVID-aware market featuring 40+ vendors and artisans, in individual open-air booths on Waller Avenue between Maple Avenue and Lyon Place. It also featured six retailers from the BID. Their fellow surrounding storefront establishments were grateful for the holiday cheer and foot traffic brought to the 20
People reached via advertising and business promotion activities
Estimated Holiday Market attendance over 10 days
Engagement rate on Facebook
Engagement rate on Instagram
Hours of free parking distributed
downtown area at the end of a difficult year. People were able to pick up their Christmas tree or holiday wreath, find interesting and unique gifts for those on their list, and after shopping, be able to head into one of the many downtown restaurants just steps away from the market for a drink and a bite to eat. The new event received positive feedback from the community, press and vendors alike. It was free to enter and masks and social distance were required at all times.
Clockwise from right: Interactive map of Shop Small offers with Holiday Market location; Holiday Market booths from above; Shop Small coffee giveaway from Hastings Tea & Coffee Lounge
To promote Shop Small and the Holiday Market, there were 19 posts on both Facebook and Instagram with an average 706 reach and 64 engagements on Facebook, and 767 reach and 93 engagements on Instagram. For these posts, there was a 9% engagement rate on Facebook and a 12% engagement rate on Instagram â&#x20AC;&#x201C; well above average for these platforms. Promotions included special offers from downtown small businesses, separated into four different categories: Restaurants, Retail, Salons & Wellness and Fitness. Promotions also included Small Business Trivia in WPBIDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Instagram Stories. These stories featured 5 questions with an average of 467 impressions. More than 450 people answered the trivia questions that brought attention to unique facts about WPBID businesses. Other social media promotions included three giveaways. The Shop Small giveaway was posted on Small Business Saturday. The post included a gift card redemption code for Hastings Tea & Coffee Lounge offering people a free coffee or tea for the day. Users were required to visit in person to be able
to use the card. To enter the White Plains Holiday Market giveaway, users followed the White Plains BID on Facebook or Instagram and commented on our post. There were 103 entries total. Two posts were dedicated to giving away free parking. Everyone that commented on the post tagging their favorite small business received a discount code for $2 off parking through the ParkWhitePlains app. The WPBID gave away a total of 74 parking validation codes, of which 21 were used. The WPBID hired two local influencers, Breakfast Ate Tiffany (21.7k followers) and Jackie Giardina (26.4k followers), to promote Shop Small and the Holiday Market. Their Instagram Stories featured WPBID member businesses participating in Shop Small and Holiday Market. Breakfast Ate Tiffany posted 24 stories with an average of 336 impressions and 28 interactions. Jackie Giardina posted 38 stories with an average of 363 impressions and 31 interactions. As a result, the WPBID gained approximately 200 additional followers. 21
Street Cleaning & Beautification The WPBID’s street cleaning and beautification activities are supplemental to those already being performed by the City of White Plains. These efforts dramatically enhance the visual appearance and cleanliness of major pedestrian corridors in the downtown. The WPBID maintains a four-person Clean Team that is responsible for sweeping up loose litter on downtown sidewalks and replacing trash bags in the 95 trash receptacles that are located within the BID. The WPBID’s Clean Team works 4 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year to help keep our sidewalks free of garbage. During 2020, the WPBID’s clean team removed approximately 1,000 trash bags per month from downtown trash receptacles and replaced them with a new empty bag. Normally, the Clean Team removes 2,000 bags per month but there was considerably less trash to handle in 2020 as a result of temporary business closures and reduced pedestrian traffic on downtown streets. Full bags are left at the curb by the WPBID Clean Team for pickup by the City’s Department of Public Works. The WPBID’s Clean Team also provides the labor to remove gum from the BID’s sidewalks. Each gum spot is removed with a patented machine from Gumbusters. The machine uses a non-toxic
solution and steam to remove the gum in an environmentally friendly manner as opposed to power washing, which uses thousands of gallons of water. In 2020, the COVID19 pandemic significantly reduced pedestrian traffic on downtown streets as residents and employees adhered to calls to limit contact with other individuals and adhere to social distancing. The reduced pedestrian traffic resulted in less trash and fewer gum spots on downtown streets. Consequently all gumbusting activities were curtailed during 2020 and rescheduled for the spring and summer of 2021. As in previous years, the WPBID also planted 34 large street pots in the BID, and two tree wells with a beautiful array of flowers including Canna Pretoria, Nicotiana Saratoga, Coleus, Angelonia, Impomoea and Scaevola. This effort, combined with planting undertaken by the City of White Plains and White Plains Beautification Foundation, create streetscapes that are truly inviting and alive with color during the spring to fall seasons when people are out shopping, eating and strolling through the downtown.
These efforts create streetscapes that are truly inviting and alive with color during the spring to fall seasons when people are out shopping, eating and strolling through the downtown.
Financials The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted As of June 30, 2020, the WPBID had total net the profitability of private sector businesses and notassets of $525,620. Total liabilities as of June 30, for-profit organizations throughout the U.S. in 2020. 2020 were $56,454 inclusive of accounts payables, The WPBID was similarly impacted as virtually all of accrued expenses and deferred rent. The WPBID the WPBID’s major events uses its cash assets to after New Year’s Eve 2020 make yearly investments in were cancelled, resulting downtown street furniture, The need to provide aid in these in a significant decline such as solar powered trash critical times was paramount to compactors and newer in Special Event revenue. Total revenue declined by downtown trash receptacles. any year-end financial goal. $56,294 (5.68%) from the This year these assets were previous year. deployed to fund the BIDCAP The decline in revenue was accompanied by a program. If the WPBID did not have a financial large increase in program expenses. In July of 2020, reserve, it would not have been able to fund this the WPBID held its major downtown concert Rock critical program. Prudent cash management has White Plains, featuring international performing enabled the organization to avoid major cash flow artist Smash Mouth. The expenses for this event issues when the economy faces a considerable were significant, albeit being offset partially by downturn, such as during the 2020 COVID-19 sponsorship revenue. However, by April 2020 with pandemic. the pandemic in full swing, the WPBID focused all of its human and financial resources on doing everything possible to keep struggling downtown businesses from closing. The BIDCAP program Statements of Financial Position June 30 discussed earlier in this report was devised and 2020 2019 implemented with full knowledge that it would ASSETS cause the organization to end the fiscal year with a Cash and cash equivalents $ 466,111 $ 520,612 significant deficit ($97,907). Nonetheless the need Accounts receivable 18,052 30,212 to provide aid in these critical times was paramount Deposit and prepaid expenses 15,731 16,513 to any year-end financial goal. Of note, staff salaries Property and equipment, net 25,726 23,559 $ 525,620 $ 590,896 declined by 5.65% from the previous fiscal year as the WPBID underwent internal changes in various LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS staff positions. Liabilities Accounts payable and accrued expenses Note payable
Deferred Rent Total Liabilities
467,954 1,212 469,166 $525,620
521,348 45,725 567,073 $590,896
NET ASSETS Unrestricted Without Donor Restrictions With Donor Restrictions Total Net Assets
Statements of Activities Year Ended June 30, 2020 W/O Donor Restrictions
With Donor Restrictions
Year Ended June 30, 2019 W/O Donor Restrictions
With Donor Restrictions
REVENUE AND SUPPORT Contract with the City of White Plains
Net assets released from restriction
Total Revenue and Support
Direct program expenses
Dues and subscriptions
Postage and printing
Sponsorships and contributions Interest
Travel and lodging Office
Bad debt expense Miscellaneous Total Expenses Change in Net Assets NET ASSETS Beginning of year End of year
Sponsors Jennifer M. Montalto-Pizzo
Lolaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s New York
Silverman Realty Group
Sterling National Bank
Front Porch Photos
WP Galleria Realty LP
Ivy Realty Services
A & A Maintenance
Karen M. Pasquale
Chairwoman, Silverman Realty Group, Inc. Vice Chairman, Alloy Printing Treasurer, Webster Bank
Kite Realty Group
Mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Appointee, City of White Plains Commissioner of Finance, City of White Plains
Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate
Common Council Appointee, City of White Plains
Jeannie Minskoff Grant
Gina Ann Perriello
Michael Calano, Esq.
LMC, a Lennar Company
New York Power Authority Glacier Global Partners
Pacific Retail Minskoff Grant Realty and Mgmt. Corp.
Nicjo Realty Company
Calano & Culhane, LLP
Polloni & Weiss Realty Co.
Ivy Realty Services, LLC
Paul Bergins, Esq.
Ronald Getlan Resident
Paul Dillane (1/30/64 - 6/11/20)
Westchester Road Runner
LeVino Wine Merchants
Photo & Design Credits
Assistant Project Manager
Jennifer Tillerson Events Manager
Cover: Danielle Foti; Pg. 6: Melissa Gruyich-Tomlin, Danielle Foti; Pg. 7: Unknown; Pg. 9: Jennifer Tillerson; Pg. 10: Danielle Foti, Unknown; Pg. 11: Danielle Foti; Pg. 12-13: Danielle Foti, Alison Malecot; Pg. 14: Brittany Brandwein; Pg. 15: Danelle Foti; Pg. 16: Desktop mockup by Country 4k, Smartphone mockup by Zee Que; Pg. 17: Danielle Foti, Smartphone mockup by Zee Que; Pg. 18: Brittany Brandwein, Jennifer Tillerson; Pg. 19: Danielle Foti; Pg. 21: Smartphone mockup by Zee Que, Danielle Foti; Pg. 22: Kevin Nunn, Danielle Foti; Pg. 23: Alison Malecot, Danielle Foti, Alison Malecot; Pg. 26: PxHere / Danielle Foti This report was designed by Danielle Foti.
White Plains Business Improvement District
www.wpbid.com P: 914-328-5166 F: 914-328-5168 235 Mamaroneck Avenue, Suite 200 White Plains, NY 10605