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Sunnyside Shines Offers High-Tech Solution to Local Shopping

Photo: WIki Commons

March 16, 2011 Staff Report

Sunnyside Shines, this neighborhood’s business improvement group, is in the early stages of putting together a high-tech system that it thinks will help increase the flow of business for local retailers.

Sunnyside Shines aims to use “quick response” technology, where all 300 stores in the district are provided with a bar/quick response code. Shoppers will then be able to use a smart phone and scan in the bar code located at the entrance, which will bring up each store’s individual web page.

Therefore, a shopper might walk past a restaurant, scan in the code and get a copy of the menu on his/her smart phone. The functionality can be even more extensive, where the shopper can see a video of the chef preparing the food.

All 300 sites/pages will be created by Sunnyside Shines, which will manage the system. However, the business owners will be able to change their own page or update it at any time.

Additionally, by scanning the code, consumers will be able to find out if there are any special discounts being offered at a given store. As the technology progresses, shoppers will be notified in advance when a store has any deals.

Sunnyside Shines hopes to get the system up and running by June. The program’s name is likely to be called “Sunnyside Shopping,” although Sunnyside Shines is asking the public for suggestions.

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20 Comments

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Wayward Chef

waste of time… put energy behind getting loans for small business and new business that need capital to weather this economy… also the QR thing is someone with computer can do in minutes… Sunnyside shines needs to do a real assessment of what Sunnyside residents and its businesses need, not waste money and time on toy projects for the ED

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Sunnyside Visitor

As a recent visitor who did a great deal of walking around the Sunnyside neighborhood, my FIRST suggestion would be to clean it up. It just felt seedy and rundown to me. I often wondered as I was walking, just what the attraction possibly could be to make it so desirable?

Several times I saw young guys on bicycles purposely making it difficult for pedestrians in crosswalks, particularly elderly women and that was sad and sickening.

Perhaps I’m just jaded and spoiled by suburban living …..

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sunnysider

Starke, parking under the 7 train for us to shop here or for others to shop here not for those going into the city. I want to make convient to shop in our town. Senior citizens that cannot walk have them leave their cars and shop . that is what I am talking aboiut. People that want to travel into the city why make it easier for them to park. We in our town need convience we live here

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sartke

Free parking under a train 10 minutes from Midtown is a horrible idea. More free parking will just continue to make this neigborhood into a gigantic ugly parking lot for Manhattan.

If someone wants big box retail and easy parking, they don’t have to go far to find it. QB doesn’t offer a lot of shopping options that can’t be found elsewhere. If we want it to have a competitive advantage over other neighborhoods in Queens we don’t need to try to make the area more easily accessible for cars – it is extremely accessible for cars. We need to make the area more easily accessible for people.

It might sound crazy right now, but it’s entirely possible that one day someone could want to spend their day walking down Queens Boulevard enjoying the people, trees and overall atmosphere. When that’s the case we won’t have to worry about our retail getting enough business. Why not remove parking spots from under the 7 and start a park? Take out a couple dozen parking spots and you can have some central public greenspace in a neighborhood that has practically zero. If that sounds ridiculous – “Who would want to hang out in a park there?” – well that leads to the question “Who would spend their time shopping there if they didn’t have to?”

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sunnysider

I think we need to get free parking under the 7 train on sundays to inspire shopping both in our town in to bring people to shop here. I cannot think of any other area that can house cars nearby and convient for shopping as well. How about having smart phones oiutside of our business so people can access their infor when they get here instead of buying asmart phone. what do yoiu folks think?

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DOROTHY NEARY

CONCENTRATE ON LACK OF PARKING , FORGET THE GIMMICKS, VARY THE BUSINESSES (TOO MANY OF THE SAME KIND)

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sunnysider

Is the money that bid is spending part of the dollars in their budget and who decides if this is what the business community wants and is the bid acting on their own with out the business approval. You should not have to take a wak to get this info you should be available on line or maybe in the herld like the sunnyshine buys ads in there how about all the infor to be printed so those people with no computers can have access to it as well. Or use this web site and have the ownes pay moeny to have this site as their web site. As well as sunnyside shines.
besides this site is giving us news stores aboiut oiut town and keeps us informated as to what is happening here so they have earned the webistie ads and let them make some moeny as well.

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Diane K

I agree with everyone that this seems like a silly project given the stores and shopping in our area. I also wonder what sort of data the barcode/websites will be collecting from users of this technology. I don’t have a smartphone anyway….Rather than fancy barcodes and websites, Sunnyside Shines could buy bike helmets for all the delivery people who dangerously navigate the streets on behalf of local restaurants. That’s a project worth funding. Or the restaurant map.

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sartke

I wonder when tony thinks the hay day of Sunnyside was? Crime-ridden 70s and 80s?

Sunnyside was ranked the 3rd most desirable place to live in the entire city by New York magazine. That’s not something that would have happened 20 or 50 years ago. There are few neighborhoods as safe, convenient, interesting and diverse (literally the most diverse neighborhood in the most diverse city in the world). One day we might look back at today and realize that this was the hay day for the neighborhood.

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sunnysider

What happens if you do not have a smart phone. are we suppose to go out and buy a smart phone. I rather they use their own web site they have up and put other businesses web site on their site so we can find things on our own. Keep it simple and easy. Plus all the business shuld be on this site whether they are a member or not . Or pay what they can affort

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sartke

henry is absolutely correct. Other cities – and other countries have managed to improve their neighborhoods using sometimes radical ideas and we should attempt to learn from them. NYC is not always the first or the best or most innovative place on the planet.

Queens Boulevard needs greenspace, it needs traffic calming, it needs safe bike lanes. It needs to be a place where someone from another borough or neighborhood might come to take a walk and shop. When that’s the case, local businesses won’t have to rely on gimmicks to succeed.

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henry

@sartke you are right about what’s wrong with Queens Blvd: “If we can turn Queens Boulevard into a nice, safe and walkable shopping corridor…”

Why would anyone want to stroll down such an ugly and dangerous boulevard? The whole strip is an eyesore and drives people away. There are tons of solutions but first the community needs to agree on what the problem and goals are.

As they say, plan your work and work your plan. We need a plan based on agreed upon goals that recognize the history of the neighborhood (where we have been) but also is forward thinking.

I’ve heard about ideas for a new streetscape that would include covenants for awnings and signage, as well as new street lights and that may help but it needs to be part of a bigger goal. I know many people that would prefer to stroll along Skillman than the beast that is Queens Boulevard.

Years ago, I remember Manhattan Ave. in Greenpoint was the main shopping area, but slowly a couple shops and restaurants opened on Franklin Street. Today you go up Manhattan Ave. and it’s filled with the usual chain stores, banks, etc. but if you go over to Franklin it’s full of local shops. They even finally got a great local bookshop.

Perhaps the community should look at other neighborhoods for inspiration not only here in Queens or even Brooklyn but even in other cities.

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sunnyside_south

gotta echo the above points… sunnyside shines so far has only really implemented projects that sound nice (coupon and bucks program, arch lights, and now this), but don’t really go a long way towards bringing foot traffic and creating a welcoming business district.

as mentioned, safety and low rents will help local businesses thrive. outreach efforts are great – perhaps there should be a marketing program to bring diners from outside the neighborhood here to eat – but sunnyside shines and our elected officials have to address the tough issues to really improve the area.

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Krissi

Sartke is spot on! Although I commend Sunnyside Shines for the work on this, it seems kind of pointless. The problem is sky high rents and lack of diversity in our shopping choices.

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Susan

I agree with Sartke.

Besides, I have a smart phone, the know-how and energy, and care about shopping local. But if the products I’m looking for are not here, what’s the point?

I take the risk in crossing the boulevard to get to the library and one or two other shops on the south side but there’s a limit to what one can buy (e.g., there are no clothing or shoe stores for women, no housewares, etc).

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sartke

This is impressive in scope but ultimately not gonna change the state of local business. I already know what the places around me serve, I already know what I can buy and where. ‘Shop local’ should always be emphasized, but there are less convoluted ways to promote local businesses. How many people walking down the street will have:

1. a smartphone
2. the know-how and energy to do this
3. will actually care about shopping local
4. will be so impressed by some deal/discount that they’ll actually buy something that they wouldn’t have otherwise?

The real issues for Queens Boulevard and the commercial offstreets are commercial rent prices and attracting sufficient foot traffic. Sunnyside Shines should be commended for thinking outside of the box, but sometimes you can think a little too outside the box. If we can turn Queens Boulevard into a nice, safe and walkable shopping corridor – one where you don’t have to worry about your child being hit by a car – that will do much more for retail than a complicated smartphone system.

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