Let’s Make Downtown Sparkle

Queens Youth Justice Center (QYJC) Partnership
We are excited to announce a new partnership with one of our neighborhood nonprofits, the Queens Youth Justice Center to remove litter from our downtown. Every Saturday, starting this month, youth enrolled in workforce development programming at the Justice Center will help sweep litter from north-south cross streets bisecting Jamaica Avenue between Sutphin Boulevard and 169th Street. The youth will also remove litter from a portion of Archer Avenue. Litter collected by the youth will then be transported out of the district by our own Jamaica Center BID Clean Team (which cleans Jamaica Avenue from Sutphin Boulevard to 169th Street seven days a week.) The partnership is expected to provide an additional 2,430 hours of community benefit services to Jamaica’s downtown over the next three years. You can read our joint press release with QYJC here

View the rest of our E-newsletter here!

(Photo Credit: Odathrowback Festus)

COVID-19 Info for Businesses

Our BID is committed to ensuring that our local business community receives the latest resources necessary to help them weather the current coronavirus situation. We will be updating this page regularly with information we receive from City, State, Federal agencies and other respected economic development and business support institutions. Please bookmark this page and check back often. *Information changes regularly. Please be sure to skim the full page on a periodic basis to ensure you are not missing new information, such as our recently added “reopening” section.*   

Know something we are missing? See something inaccurate? Please email us at  [email protected].      

This page was last updated on 9/24/20. Items subject to change and we cannot guarantee up to the minute updates. It is your responsibility as a business to follow government directives and stay abreast of the news and changing regulations.     

START HERE (Empieza aqui*)       


Additional Reopening Support  
Our BID has designed several templates you can insert in your window to alert customers of your COVID-19 opening hours, purchasing/ordering procedures and to remind shoppers of social distancing courtesies towards your employees.  Download the packet here.    

FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (Loans, Grants, Capital Raising Platforms)     

City of New York Loans and Grants for Small Businesses       

State Loans    

Federal Government Loans (Small Business Administration Loans)         

Private Grants    

Private Loans   

**For Restaurant-specific Grants/Loans, see restaurant section below.      

Organizations with Business Counselors that Can Help Businesses with Loan/Grant Applications (and more):        

Additional Financial Support for Business (Commercial Rent Relief)       

Financial Support for Businesses (Insurance Relief)       

Per Gov. Cuomo’s March 27 announcement: Small businesses experiencing coronavirus-related financial hardship may defer paying premiums for property and casualty insurance for a 60-day period. This includes auto, homeowners, renters and other kinds of insurance. (No late fees will be assessed and there will be no negative impact to your credit.)       

NY State’s page on understanding Commercial Business Interruption Insurance.       



Below are updated resources to help you and your business stay safe and prevent the spread of germs.        



Property Owners/Facilities Management   



Freelancers Unionhas a rolling list of resources and advice for 1099 workers and is regularly updating its membership on efforts to include freelancers in the various relief plans.. Freelancers/1099 workers are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program Loan and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans Grants (Advance) and Loans.       


On August 24, gyms were allowed to open but to a third of their total capacity, and people are required to wear masks at all times. The state also requires air filters that help prevent airborne transmission of viral particles and sign-in forms to assist with contact-tracing efforts. Local governments will also need to inspect gyms to make sure they meet the state’s requirements before they open or within two weeks of their opening. For up-to-date information for businesses and gyms visit the NYC Department of Health sitehere.   


Our organization, Jamaica Center BID, can help your business pass on important information to our 15,000 social media followers and 2,000 e-newsletter subscribers. If you offer delivery, takeout or curbside pick-up, let us know and we will promote it. If you sell gift cards, let us know and we will encourage our followers to purchase them so that you can have a continued cash flow. If you offer online shopping, facetime shopping or other innovative methods that customers can utilize to keep spending money at your establishment, let us know. Email Trey Jenkins at [email protected] and we will help promote.      

Have an update your business would like to share with the Queens eco-system? Queens Chamber is accepting business updates on its rolling COVID-19 announcement list. Please email your details to [email protected]with the subject line – QUEENS BUSINESS CORONAVIRUS UPDATES.      

NYC +Co, the City of New York’s official tourism body, is gathering and publicizing info on local businesses, cultural organizations and more for citywide promotional purposes. Make sure your business is covered. Museums, theaters, performing arts organizations can submit a virtual experience for consideration here, Restaurants open for business can get listed here. 

Downtown Jamaica Storefront Improvement Grant Applications

We are happy to share that the Department of Small Business Services' phase 2 of the Downtown Jamaica Storefront Improvement Grant applications are now open. If you are a small business or property owner in the Downtown Jamaica area who is interested in this grant opportunity, please visit the Downtown Jamaica Storefront Improvement Application & Guidelines pages.

You can find more information about the program on the SBS website here

If interested, please direct all questions to [email protected]The deadline for this grant opportunity is September 30.

New Work Readiness Partnership to Enhance Downtown Jamaica

Media Contact Jamaica Center BID: Trey Jenkins
Director of Marketing and Business Services
[email protected]

Media Contact Queens Youth Justice Center: Erika McSwain
[email protected]

For Immediate Release:

Jamaica, Queens, September 19, 2020 – Two local nonprofits, the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District “BID” and the Queens Youth Justice Center “the Justice Center”, a demonstration project of the Center for Court Innovation, launched a new partnership today that is expected to significantly beautify the business corridor in downtown Jamaica. The partnership will deploy youth enrolled in workforce development programming at the Justice Center to downtown Jamaica where they engage in weekly community benefit projects, focusing on the north-south cross streets bisecting the Jamaica Avenue commercial corridor and a portion of Archer Avenue every Saturday for five hours for the next three years. Litter collected by the youth will then be transported out of the district by the Jamaica Center BID’s existing sanitation staff which cleans Jamaica Avenue from Sutphin Boulevard to 169th Street seven days a week.

“Every year, our BID’s Clean Team sweeps away nearly 50,000 bags worth of litter from 32 block faces on Jamaica Avenue,” stated Jennifer Furioli, Executive Director of the Jamaica Center BID. “However, the side streets leading to our shopping district that aren’t covered by our BID are still filled with litter. Side streets are usually the first impression shoppers have when entering our downtown because most parking garages and subway exits are located there. Thanks to this new partnership, shoppers will experience a more pleasant retail experience right from the moment of their arrival.”

The partnership is expected to provide an additional 2,430 hours of community benefit services to Jamaica’s downtown over the next three years. Funding for the partnership comes from the Department of Probation’s Be Ready ECHOES program, a three-year grant that was awarded to the Queens Youth Justice Center through June of 2023.

As part of the partnership, Queens Youth Justice Center staff will provide participants with ongoing workforce development training to learn and gain the skills needed to obtain and maintain employment. The community benefit projects will allow participants to gain hands on experience while also help to make changes in their community.  Participants will receive a stipend as part of their engagement in programming. Erika McSwain, director at the Queens Youth Justice Center stated, “We are excited about this partnership with the Jamaica Center BID to allow our participants to gain hands on experience and an opportunity to improve the public spaces in their community. We know this is only the beginning of an exciting relationship that will push forward our goal of increasing public safety throughout the communities we serve through improving community public spaces.”

To further enhance the experience of the youth participants, the Jamaica Center BID has agreed to educate the youth about urban planning, BID and nonprofit management and community improvement careers. “If one of these participants is inspired to pursue studies or a career in the BID field after going through this program, we would be thrilled,” added Furioli. The Queens Youth Justice Center participants were able to help paint the Black Lives Matter mural on Jamaica Avenue in late July. Furioli is hoping to recruit other nonprofit and NYC agency executives to speak to the participants about their jobs, and to engage the youth in planting flowers throughout the district as well.

About the Center for Court Innovation: Queens Youth Justice Center

The Center for Court Innovation seeks to create a more effective and humane justice system. The Center has operated the Queens Youth Justice Center (QYJC) since 2007, providing a series of programs, particularly youth development programs to the entire borough of Queens. Over the past decade, QYJC has engaged young people, ages 12-18, in court-mandated programs—such as Department of Probation-funded ICM Plus mentoring program and the QUEST Alternative-to-Detention program, as well as voluntary programming, including Queens Neighborhood Youth Justice Council and Youth Court. The Center has also built strong ties to many community-based organizations, service providers, and government entities, including the New York Police Department, local schools, the Administration for Children’s Services and the Department of Probation. For more info visit www.courtinnovation.org/programs/queens-youth-justice-center.

About the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District (BID)
Founded as the Jamaica District Management Association in 1979, the Jamaica Center BID is central to one of New York City’s fastest growing communities. Jamaica Center BID is the proud home to national and regional retailers, several major cultural and educational institutions as well as City, State and Federal Offices, and more than 400 businesses. The Jamaica Center BID seeks to maintain Jamaica Center as a thriving business hub and premier destination to shop, work, live and play. For more info visit www.Jamaica.nyc.

Our Latest Activities - E-newsletter

Our Latest Activities
Jamaica Center BID spent much of August canvassing hundreds of our local businesses to inquire about their recovery, inform them about the City’s proposed Jamaica Avenue busway, assess internet bandwidth strength downtown, and most importantly, to enroll our local storefront businesses in our new emergency alert system, JBID-Alerts!   

What’s JBID-Alerts? Something very important in our eyes…In early February a portion of the Avenue was shut down due to an alleged bomb threat. Shortly thereafter, Coronavirus began spreading in full force and many businesses suddenly needed to shut down or modify operations based on their business type. In both instances, our staff struggled to efficiently get time-sensitive info to our businesses, due to varying degrees of email, social media or landline connectivity of each business. The lesson learned? In times of emergency, our BID needs a rapid-fire way to communicate with businesses beyond email, store visits, or calls to store landlines. Enter JBID-Alerts! When a business owner or key manager provides our organization with their cell phone number, we can now send up to the minute emergency blasts directly to their cell phone, using a new software powered by Textedly. 

If you’re a business owner within our BID boundaries that would like to be enrolled in this program, please contact Trey Jenkins at [email protected]. We will never share your cell information and we will only notify you with critical information that we feel is time sensitive and important to your business’s survival (read: no junk texts). Property owners—we would also like to provide this emergency alert service to you, building supers and building managers who want to be alerted of downtown emergencies (water main break, fire, etc). Please reach out to Trey Jenkins if you or your building staff wish to enroll in these alerts. We can’t prevent disasters, but we certainly can prepare for them, allowing us as a business community to rebound much quicker!

We also spent August reminding the community to support local businesses. We gave away I LOVE Jamaica Avenue and “Shop Local” postcards to passersbys at the Family Fun Day hosted by the Queens Chronicle and King Manor Museum on August 21. Later that day we joined Elected Officials I. Daneek MillerAdrienne AdamsJames Sanders and Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Jonel Dorris for the kickoff of their Advancing Black Entrepreneurship (BE NYC) report. Natasha Morales and Candi Semone of Make Me Over Beauty Bar (166-11 Jamaica Ave) and Henry Arroyo of Henry’s Carrot Cakes (located inside Jamaica Market 90-40 160th) each spoke at the press event about what it means to be a Black business owner and part of the Downtown Jamaica community. Dawn Kelly of The Nourish Spot (107-05 Guy R Brewer Blvd) also spoke at the event on Jamaica Avenue at the location of the Black Lives Matter street mural.  

View the rest of our E-newsletter here!

Black Lives Matter Ground Mural & Black Entrepreneurship on Jamaica Avenue - E-newsletter

Black Lives Matter Ground Mural & Black Entrepreneurship on Jamaica Avenue 
If you haven’t noticed already, a Black Lives Matter ground mural was recently installed on Jamaica Avenue on the portion between the Family Courts and King Manor Museum. Post-installation, our local elected officials, with the significant leadership of Council Member I. Daneek Miller, put on a series of festive and themed events intended to draw attention to the mural and provide necessary—but socially distant—community engagement with the public. Themed days included Gospel, Youth and Community days, each with their own sets of joyful and educational activities. Our BID was pleased to participate in several of these days, where we encouraged attendees to learn more about and support our Jamaica Avenue Business Improvement District merchants, which during these times need our shopping support now more than ever! We handed out flyers showcasing our new website (Jamaica.nyc) and recently opened businesses; gave away reusable Jamaica Avenue shopping totes and asked shoppers to commit to supporting our local economy by signing our “Buy Local” pledge.

This Friday we will return to the same spot from 1-2 p.m. to participate in the City of New York’s launch announcement for its recently-released report Advancing Black Entrepreneurship in NYC. Two of our very own BID Black-owned businesses (Make Me Over Beauty Bar and Henry’s Carrot Cakes) will be present. Please come and support them.

We’re also partnering with King Manor Museum and the Queens Chronicle to ‘Celebrate The Jewels of Jamaica,’ this Friday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. We’ll be at the King Manor Museum front lawn for a socially distant family fun day. Stop by, see us, sign a pledge to shop local on Jamaica Avenue and get a new ‘I Love Jamaica’ shopping bag! 

View the rest of E-newsletter here!

The New Jamaica Center BID Website - E- newsletter

The New Jamaica Center BID Website
It’s Here! At long last, we’ve launched our new website, a hub for all things Jamaica Avenue: jamaica.nyc. Use our site to navigate what's happening in the neighborhood, explore all there is to see and do entertainment-wise, access a full directory of businesses on Jamaica Avenue and (if you’re a business owner) learn more about how the BID can help you achieve your goals. Test drive it here!

View the rest of E-newsletter here!

Welcome Back Shoppers! - E-newsletter

Welcome Back Shoppers!
With Stage II underway, many of our retail locations and salons/barbershops have reopened, along with the restaurants and essential businesses that were open throughout the entire Coronavirus outbreak. Plantain Werkes (147-21 Jamaica Avenue), Make Me Over Beauty Bar (166-11 Jamaica Avenue), Jackie’s Kids (147-09 Jamaica Avenue), Pretty Women(165-09 Jamaica Avenue), CH Martin (148-22 Jamaica Avenue, Jackpot Savings (148-17 Jamaica Avenue) and many of the food vendors at Jamaica Market...these are just a few of our beloved establishments that are back in biz and ready for you. We’ve been popping into many of these businesses the past few days to check in, and are here to report that the Jamaica Avenue business community is taking your safety seriously with limited occupancy, six-foot spacing reminders, masked employees, special certifications, and more.
Now we ask you—the customers—to do your part! Wear a mask when you shop, follow the rules the store or business establishment has thoughtfully put together to protect you and their employees, socially distance from your fellow customers and the staff helping you, and SHOP Jamaica Avenue. Now is not the time to order online from retailers across the country. Keep your dollars in your community—these businesses need your business to make a successful recovery. Need some motivation to adopt a “buy local” mindset.? Tag @jamcenterbid on Instagram with your posts featuring your shopping excursion on Jamaica Avenue and we’ll send you a Jamaica Avenue BID tote!
View the rest of our e-newsletter here!

What We’ve Been Up To Lately - E-newsletter

What We’ve Been Up To Lately 
Our BID is now one of NYC’s designated distributors of PPE (masks) for local Southeast Queens businesses. Special thanks to Fred Green, our key point person on the ground who is coordinating delivery to our local business community that needs them, and thanks to our local neighbor The Nourish Spot for their recent note of appreciation. If you are a SE Queens-based business that would like some of these masks (5 masks per employee), please email [email protected] to discuss—pick-ups are by appointment only. Our neighboring economic development organizations, Sutphin Blvd. BIDGateway Jamaica Center BID, and Greater Jamaica Development Corporation are also serving as distribution hubs and can also be directly contacted to coordinate a pick-up. More about this service here.
We’re also nearly done with the redesign of our new website. Our current website, jamaica.nyc has all the necessary info needed to share important information with Jamaica Avenue customers, business owners and property members, but...we admit that as the sands of time have passed, it has become difficult to navigate. Today’s circumstances have shown that its more important than ever to have an effective digital presence to distribute critical information quickly. We look forward to revealing a fresh, new and easy-to-navigate website by early July!
Our Executive Director Jennifer Furioli also recently appeared on Council Member Lancman’s virtual town hall on “Phase 1 Reopening: Everything You Need to Know with panelists from the Governor's Office, Queens Chamber of Commerce, Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, Jamaica Muslim Center (Official), First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, NY and Vaad Harabonim of Queens. We thank the Council Member and the fellow guests for the opportunity to discuss the next steps in safely reopening our community.
View the rest of E-newsletter here!

Latest Neighborhood News and Important Business Info Inside - E-newsletter

*Businesses: last week was a big week for business news. Please be sure to scroll to the business section in the middle of this e-newsletter for the latest updates.*

What We’ve Been Up To Lately 
Although we’re following the official directive to work from home, our BID has been busy remotely working for our Jamaica Avenue business district, merchants and customers. Here's just a handful of things we’ve been up to lately:

View the rest of our E-newsletter here!

More Business Grants, Plantain Werks Reopens, and a Hometown Hero! - E-newsletter

Weekly Business Grants and Loan Updates - Business PPP is Back!
After funds were extinguished from the first round, the federal Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program “PPP” reopened this week. You can access more information about the PPP from the Small Business Administration here.
One of the common complaints about the initial PPP funding round was that many small businesses were not able to access the funds through traditional lending methods. The current round of PPP is designed to help solve this problem by allocating some funds to be distributed through Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFI’s, in addition to regular banks. What is a CDFI? CDFI’s are organizations that ensure that under-represented communities get a fair chance at accessing loans. The good news is that Jamaica, Queens qualifies as the type of neighborhood where businesses can receive loans from a CDFI. The nationwide nonprofit National Development Council (NDC), is a CDFI that has stated its preference for PPP applications coming from low and moderate income districts (LMI’s), of which Jamaica is one. Consider reaching out to NDC here.
Also, just a reminder that applications for the second round of grant funding from the national nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation “LISC” Rapid Relief Resiliency Fund closes today. Apply here. (This is a grant program that opens and closes regularly—be sure you don’t miss the next application opening. Sign up for email updates from LISC to be notified of the next round.)
View the rest of our E-newsletter here!

How About Some Good News? - E-newsletter

How About Some Good News?
We thought you may enjoy a little good news today. Here are some positive things happening on Jamaica Avenue that are making us smile:

View the rest of our E-newsletter here!