New York City, February 2, 2021 — In what may be a first, 44 neighborhood organizations representing New York City’s five boroughs have joined forces to deliver messages of love and support to small businesses throughout the city, all in time for Valentine’s Day.
Each of the 44 participating neighborhood associations will customize its Valentine’s Day Sweethearts Shop Local program, February 1-14, to its own neighborhood, with the common messages:
  • Shop local
  • Order direct
  • Write a positive review
  • Shout out on social media
  • Buy a gift card 
  • Send a love letter
Sweethearts Shop Local came about when graduates of the noted Coro Neighborhood Leadership Program (
recently met up on Zoom to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the leadership program. Many of the 44 participating neighborhood organizations are led by Coro grads whose mission is to learn how the city works so they can make it better.
The participating neighborhood associations, which span the five boroughs, say they banded together to show some love to their local merchants.
According to one of the collaboration organizers, James Ellis, who also serves as Executive Director, North Flatbush Avenue BID (Brooklyn), his area’s small businesses, like so many across NYC, need support and love more now than ever. “Our #SmallBusinessSweetie initiative was born out of an idea to tap into the amazing 10-year-old network of smart, invested, and creative alumni of the Coro New York Neighborhood Leadership program. This network includes many small-business community champions from across the five boroughs that are experts on their neighborhoods small and large. The group’s goal is to engage shoppers and diners, encourage the showcase of business during this holiday cycle, and activate a branded campaign that is easily implementable, customizable, scalable, and inclusive of all the amazing neighborhoods in New York City.” 
Staten Island’s Nina Flores, Executive Director, Forest Avenue BID says “Our district is thrilled to be a part of this collaboration. Small Business is the backbone of this great city. Staten Island is one big community, and each corridor provides a unique experience. Drive by and sample them all.” 
“We are excited to collaborate on this effort to support our small businesses in their time of need,” says Jennifer Tausig, Executive Director, Jerome Gun Hill BID in the Bronx. “Our businesses were struggling prior to COVID-19 and are now hanging on for dear life. Given that small businesses are the anchors of our economy and our neighborhoods, we will continue to work tirelessly to support them through creative initiatives like our Valentine’s Day promotion to encourage our neighbors to shop locally.”
“From DUMBO to East New York, Brooklyn’s small businesses make up the heart of our borough,” says Daniel Murphy, Executive Director, Pitkin Avenue BID (Brooklyn). “We are eager to share our love for our customers this Valentine’s Day. “Last year tried us like none other, but here we are, still open and ready to show our gratitude to our loyal customers this Valentine’s Day. Special deals all across Brooklyn include Pitkin Avenue’s Advantage Card which rewards our customers with special discounts and offers at Pitkin Avenue retailers: signing up is free. Do so before February 12th for a chance to win a customized Pitkin Chocolate Sampler from Brooklyn’s own Li-Lac Chocolates.” 
Maria Diaz, Executive Director, The Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce (Manhattan) says her organization is “excited to participate in this collaboration because we know that all of our neighborhoods are an integral part of what makes NYC unique and beautiful. We have to band together to continuously remind our communities the importance of supporting our local businesses.” 
Queens’ Leslie Ramos, Executive Director, 82nd Street Partnership says “This initiative is raising awareness about the importance of shopping locally and supporting small businesses. By doing so, we help preserve jobs and protect our local economy.”   
All participating organizations:
BROOKLYN: Atlantic Avenue BID, Bay Ridge 5th Avenue BID, Bed-Stuy Gateway BID, Church Avenue BID, Cortelyou Road Merchants Association, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Dumbo Improvement District, FAB Fulton, Flatbush Avenue BID, Flatbush Nostrand Junction BID, Flatbush Development Corporation, (FDC), Grand Street BID, Montague St. BID, Myrtle Ave Brooklyn BID, Newkirk Merchant Association (NPMA), North Flatbush Avenue BID, Park Slope 5th Avenue BID, Pitkin Avenue, Sunset Park BID. BRONX: Jerome Gun Hill, Westchester Square BID, BJTBronx Commercial District, WHEDco, Southern Boulevard Merchant Association. QUEENS: 82nd Street/Jackson Heights, Bayside Village, Jamaica Center, Long Island City Partnership, Queens Economic Development Corporation/Made in Queens, Sunnyside Shines, Woodhaven BID. MANHATTAN: Chinatown BID/Partnership, Columbus Avenue BID, Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, NoHo BID, Think!Chinatown, Times Square Alliance, East Village Independent Merchant Association (EVIMA), East Midtown Partnership, Union Square Partnership, Village Alliance. STATEN ISLAND: Forest Avenue BID, Castleton Avenue Merchants Organization (CAMO), Downtown Staten Island / SI Chamber of Commerce