Top Queens Business Stories of 2021

ByDavid M. Conte

Dec 24, 2021

Queens businesses have had their ups and downs amid COVID-19. During the year, some of our best stories included reports on the city providing funds and programs to help small businesses and blacks in the borough and several chains opening their doors to businesses.

Check out the top five business stories we reported on in 2021.

Councilor Robert Holden is one of Queens elected officials praising the city’s new small business aid programs. (Courtesy of Holden’s office)

In an effort to make more resources available to small businesses recovering from COVID-19, the mayor announced $ 135 million in funding will go directly to the Ministry of Small Business Services.

According to SBS Commissioner Jonnel Doris, the program would focus on low- and moderate-income businesses in the hardest-hit communities and also aim to help businesses in the arts, entertainment, recreation and restaurant industries. .

“As the city continues on its path to recovery, it is essential that we make small businesses the centerpiece of our relief efforts,” said Doris. “SBS will continue to strive for an inclusive recovery, ensuring that all small businesses have the resources they need to get back on their feet. “

Opening of a Lidl grocery store in Astoria, its first store in Queens

Rendering of the opening of the new Lidl store in Astoria on April 7th. (Photo courtesy of Lidl)

In April, the Lidl discount grocery store opened its first store in Queens in Astoria.

The Germany-based grocer has opened its new outpost at 19-30 37th St. According to the company, it operates around 11,200 stores in 32 countries and is known for its low prices and high-quality products.

Astoria Lidl offers an easy-to-buy layout with fresh bakery, organic and gluten-free options, fresh fruits and vegetables, American origin produce, and unique European specialties.

“With the recent economic downturn hitting Queens particularly hard, we are thrilled with the opening of the Lidl discount grocery store in Astoria and are thrilled the store has well-paying jobs starting at $ 17 an hour. Richards said. “Lidl is known around the world for its low prices and diverse, healthy and high-quality food offerings. The arrival of Lidl in Queens is truly great news for the wallets and taste buds of hardworking workers in our borough.

The city is launching a new initiative to support black-owned businesses that have been affected during the economic downfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo by Todd Maisel)

In February, the city launched the Shop Your City: BE NYC initiative to gain the attention and support of black businesses, which make up 3.5% of all businesses in the five boroughs.

Elected officials in Southeast Queens applauded the program, which was launched during Black History Month. Studies show black businesses have been and are severely affected by COVID-19 and are twice as likely to shut down, with a 41% drop in business activity between February and April 2020 alone.

When it was founded, BE NYC was the first program of its kind in a major American city to help close the racial wealth gap, actively working to meet the needs of struggling Back business owners during the pandemic and beyond. .

Chick-fil-A will open a new location in Elmhurst in February. (Photo courtesy of Chick-fil-A)

Fast food chain Chick-fil-A, known for its crispy chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, has opened a new location in Elmhurst.

At the time, the 4027 82nd St. site became the first stand-alone location in Queens, joining another location inside the food court at Queens Center Mall.

The store is operated by Aman Mekonen, an Ethiopian-born franchisee raised in Stamford, Connecticut. Makonen and his family moved to Flushing after living in New York City for the past 15 years.

Prior to this company, Mekonen received a BA from Penn State, an MA from Fordham University, and had previous experience in the US military, UBS, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Greystone & Co.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to bring the delicious Chick-fil-A cuisine and signature hospitality to the diverse community of Jackson Heights,” said Mekonen. “I look forward to developing future leaders by providing opportunities and helping break down barriers people may encounter in their lives. I want my restaurant to be a place where everyone feels welcomed, respected and honorably served.