Assemblymember Amanda Septimo, in partnership with The Bronx Community Foundation and the Bodega and Small Business Group, has introduced a pilot program aimed at bolstering security measures for bodegas.
The initiative, known as the Small Business Security Initiative, seeks to address the increasing incidents of violent offenses against small business owners by providing them with access to crucial security infrastructure such as panic buttons and camera systems.
The importance of bodegas to the fabric of New York City cannot be overstated. They serve as cultural touchstones, sources of support, and community anchors within our neighborhoods. These establishments are deeply rooted in our diverse immigrant backgrounds, acting as pillars of the community, and offering assistance to families and newcomers in search of a place to call home. Bodegas also play a vital role in providing food access in our communities. Unfortunately, bodegas and their employees have been increasingly targeted by robberies and acts of violence. It is imperative that we stand together to ensure their safety.
Today, Assemblymember Septimo, alongside leaders from The Bronx Community Foundation, the Bodega and Small Business Group, the National Supermarket Association, the Yemeni American Merchants Association, the Alliance for Yemeni American Businesses, and various advocates, unveiled a million-dollar pilot program. The announcement was made at Green Earth Grocery Store, located at the corner of Grand Concourse and 171st Street, and was attended by residents of the South Bronx.
In expressing his appreciation for the initiative, Francisco Marte, President & Founder of the Bodega and Small Business Association, remarked, “This small business security initiative is essential because it comes to serve small businesses during a time when bodegueros are victims of crime and lack of consequences around the city. The deli owners from our communities are beyond grateful for the initiative that Assembly Member Septimo has taken to help with our protection moving forward.”
Dr. Meisha Porter, President and CEO of the Bronx Community Foundation, emphasized the significance of the pilot program, stating, “This pilot program is a great step towards protecting the workers in our bodegas and delis. We know the vital role that these small businesses, and the workers who run them, play in our communities, so we must do all that we can to keep them safe. I thank Assembly Member Septimo for her fierce advocacy in Albany for bringing these much-needed resources back to our community.”
Michael Brady, Senior Vice President of Economic Development and Policy at The Bronx Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the proactive nature of the Small Business Security Initiative, saying, “The Small Business Security Initiative, developed as a proactive approach to public safety with deep community and business owner input, is an essential tool and $1 million dollar pilot investment for Bronx and northern Manhattan businesses. Business resources like panic buttons, enhanced security cameras, and modern communication and sale tools will provide vital resources for bodega and corner stores while assisting in clear communication with violence disruptors and law enforcement. The Bronx Chamber applauds Assemblymember Septimo for this deep investment and looks forward to partnering as we expand the pilot program in the future.”
The partnership between Assemblymember Septimo, The Bronx Community Foundation, and the Bodega and Small Business Group aims to enhance the safety of business owners, employees, and communities. The Small Business Security Initiative will enable small business owners in Harlem, Washington Heights, and the South Bronx to better address their security needs. Panic buttons will facilitate rapid response from first responders in emergency situations, while surveillance camera systems will provide enhanced surveillance capabilities. The goal is to create a safe environment for residents and business owners, allowing their businesses to flourish and contributing to the growth and vitality of the local economy and community.
Detailed information regarding eligibility and the application process for the Small Business Security Initiative will be made available through an upcoming portal. Interested parties can access the portal to learn more about the program and submit their applications. The office of Assemblymember Amanda Septimo and her partners will also disseminate information about the initiative to ensure broad awareness and participation.
Carlos Collados, representing the National Supermarket Association, acknowledged the vital role of small businesses in communities, stating, “Grocers are anchors in our communities, and this pilot program will help us protect the valuable assets that are small businesses in our communities. Grateful for the leadership of Assembly Member Septimo for recognizing that small businesses bring so much value to our neighborhoods and are a central part of the well-being of our communities, customers, and neighbors.”
Abdulghaffar Nasser, with the Alliance of Yemeni American Businesses, emphasized the importance of supporting those who have contributed greatly during challenging times, stating, “Giving a helping hand and protecting the people who sacrificed a lot for us during the pandemic is a religious, moral, and patriotic duty. We must return the favor to them.”
Assemblymember Amanda Septimo (AD-84) emphasized the significance of small businesses, stating, “89% of all businesses in New York City are small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. They are a foundational part of the economic engine of our city and state. Small businesses serve as a path to economic opportunity for so many people in our communities. Day in and day out, bodegas serve as a critical part of our city’s social safety net, often serving as a refuge for community members. These establishments do so much to help keep us fed, happy, and healthy. And now we are stepping up to keep them safe.”
The partnership between Assemblymember Septimo, The Bronx Community Foundation, and the Bodega and Small Business Group signifies a commitment to the safety and prosperity of small businesses. By providing essential security resources, such as panic buttons and surveillance systems, the Small Business Security Initiative aims to foster a secure environment for bodegas and corner stores, enabling them to continue serving as vital community assets.
As the program moves forward, Assemblymember Septimo and her partners are dedicated to expanding the pilot program, ensuring that more businesses across the Bronx and northern Manhattan can benefit from enhanced security measures. By supporting and protecting small businesses, the initiative aims to strengthen the fabric of these communities and promote a thriving local economy.
To learn more about eligibility criteria and the application process for the Small Business Security Initiative, please visit the forthcoming portal or reach out to the office of Assemblymember Amanda Septimo and her collaborating organizations.