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Sunnyside Shines BID, Offers Discount Shopping

Ten days ago, nearly 3,000 residents received an e-mail from a local non-profit group that offered discounts to 10 different Sunnyside stores. The stores included Sunnyside Florist, Sugar & Joe and Foxy’s Diner.

Sunnyside Shines, a local Business Improvement District, sent out the e-mail. The group’s sole purpose is to promote businesses on Queens Blvd (bet. 38th and 48th Streets) and Greenpoint Ave (bet. 42nd to 48th Streets).

The group’s role is to promote business through a variety of ways. Sending out coupons, placing ads, holding events and cleaning up the streets are just a few of the many ways that Sunnyside Shines BID aims to improve the district. The e-mail campaign just happens to be the latest.

Alyssa Bonilla, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines BID, said the organization is likely to e-mail its second list of coupons next week and will continue to e-mail store discounts on an ongoing basis. E-mail recipients are advised to print the coupons out and bring them to the named store.

To receive the coupons via e-mail, residents must add their e-mail address to the group’s website at http://sunnysidebid.org/index.htm

Sunnyside Shines BID has an annual budget of $300,000 per year. The funds come from a levy placed on the property owners–not the businesses—based on the size of each store.

The property owners are supporters of the business improvement district since it is in their interest to maintain a vibrant and safe district.

The funds are spent in a number of ways. Three workers are contracted six days a week to clean and sweep the district. Holiday lights are to be erected and the there must be ongoing promotions.

This year, the BID organized Sunnyside Summer Streets in August, a vast signature gathering campaign, local business outreach, coupons and, in December, the revamp of the organization’s website.

Sunnyside Shines BID was able to generate a large e-mail list by offering residents the chance to win Mets tickets in exchange for their e-mail.

Business owners who participate in the coupon campaign do not have to pay for the marketing costs. Therefore, if an ad is placed in a newspaper, Sunnyside Shines BID picks up the tab. All a business has to do is provide the store discount.

The coupons will be published on the back of the Woodside Herald each Friday and will be sent out by e-mail. In time, the discounts will be found on Sunnyside Shines BID’s website, at http://sunnysidebid.org.

The BID is home to 275 stores, Bonilla said. It has a low vacancy rate, compared to many other neighborhoods. Excluding businesses in construction (such as Bank of America), the vacancy rate is just 3%. Furthermore, should a local business close, another business tends to replace it quickly.

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