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Officials Visit Bronx Businesses as NYC Launches ‘Shop Your City’ Challenge

Published: July 8, 2021
Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of New York City’s Small Business Service, visits small businesses in the Bronx. (Image: Martin/Vision Times)

On Tuesday, July 6, 2021 at 3 p.m., Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of New York City’s Small Business Service (SBS), and community leaders visited some of the major neighborhoods in the Bronx and provided business owners with updated information on the New York City Business FastTrac® and other resources offered by the SBS.  

Accompanying Dorris were Wilma Alonzo, Executive Director of the Fordham Business Improvement District (BID) and Daniel J. Bernstein, deputy director of the Fordham BID. 

The Fordham Road shopping corridor from Jerome Avenue to Washington Avenue is one of the city’s busiest business districts and is home to more than 300 small businesses serving the neighborhood for generations.

New York kicked off the “Shop Your City” Challenge on May 25, 2021. Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Jonnel Doris announced a new campaign to encourage New Yorkers to take a break from big-box retailers and shop at local small businesses. The “Shop Your City” Challenge is a 30-day multi-channel marketing campaign featuring a contest and a chance to win a $50 gift card to spend at neighborhood businesses.

“There’s no recovery without a full comeback for the small businesses that make New York City great. That comeback starts with all of us choosing to put money back in our own communities,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said “The Shop Your City challenge will engage New Yorkers across the five boroughs to put big box stores aside and show their love for the local institutions that have given them so much.”

In the last year, SBS has launched 28 initiatives to help small businesses and jobseekers stay resilient. Their resources include a hotline [888-SBS-4NYC] that has helped over 60,000 callers, connected over 5,000 businesses to over $147 million in funding and assisted 90,000 job seekers.

Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of New York City’s Small Business Service, visits small businesses in the Bronx. (Image: Martin/Vision Times)

Supporting small businesses

The Shop Your City Challenge will encourage New Yorkers to support their small businesses while helping NYC’s economy recover through:

• Advertising and Marketing: The City will launch a Shop Your City advertising campaign including significant investment in community and ethnic media, posters distributed to community partners and small businesses, and a social media toolkit.

• Shop Your City Photo Contest: New Yorkers will be encouraged to support small businesses through themed week categories by going to to upload a photo or video depicting how you are supporting a local small business. Participants will be entered to the photo contest for a chance to win a $50 gift card.

• Community Partnership: The City will engage with celebrities, local leaders, and business leaders to sign up for the 30-day challenge and support small businesses. Celebrities will be supporting this effort through a promotional video campaign, including actress and comedienne Sherri Shepherd, radio personality and business owner Angela Yee, and President of New York City’s Hospitality and business owner Melba Wilson.

• Consumer Incentives: The City will offer New Yorkers “I Shopped Local” stickers and Shop Your City Tote Bags when shopping small.

• 5-borough Business Tour: The City will participate in days of action according to the themed weeks throughout the next 30 days to engage with small businesses and encourage New Yorkers to shop locally.

Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of New York City’s Small Business Service, visits small businesses in the Bronx. (Image: Martin/Vision Times)

Jonnel Doris, the  NYC Small Business Services commissioner, told the Vision Times that with his visit to the Bronx, he hoped to encourage and support small businesses across all five boroughs. He said that small businesses were the city’s driving force, and as such were essential to the overall recovery. SBS, Doris said, will in future make more visits to small businesses and help them with their problems more promptly.