Bad economy slams Queens stores

February 20, 2009 3:57:37 PM PST
Vacant shops line the streets of Queens, hit hard by the recession. About two hundred stores are either out of business or about to shut for good-- twice as many stores as a year ago.

Jason's Toy Store has been in business for nearly 70 years on Jamaica Ave in Cyprus Hills. Next week it's shutting its doors. The owner, Samir Patel,says rent is up and business is down. I have no choice now so I'm "being" out myself."

"This is like the toy store of the neighborhood. I'm sad to see this store close especially.", says shopper April Grasso

The vacancy rate on Jamaica Ave alone is growing at an alarming rate with several dozen stores shut down and more closing. .

Congressman Anthony Weiner and his staff surveyed approximately 1700 stores in Queens and found that at least 200 are closed or in the process of closing. The vacancy numbers he says have doubled from the past year. .

In Forest Hills "For Rent" signs and empty store fronts are a growing constant. Local resident Roxane Duenas says it's a solemn reminder of the uncertain future ahead. "This was a street that was very very busy believe me now it's quiet."

Duenas is dining at a small business also suffering from the economic crisis..."Latin Cabana" on Austin Avenue Its owners, Javier Valdes says their future is also uncertain.

"If we don't get some support from the locals and also my building situation, we may have to end up closing." .

Small business owners hope President Obama's economic stimulus plan will give a major boost to the economy and to small businesses. The plan provides relief in a number of ways for small business owners including money for loans.


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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