Sheepshead Bay

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce joins partnership to benefit Sheepshead Bay

New Alliance Brings Together Business, Education and Government

January 16, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Sheepshead Bay Merchants’ Association and Kingsborough Community College partner together to benefit Sheepshead Bay. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
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The new year brings a new partnership between the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (BCC), the student body at CUNY Kingsborough Community College and the Sheepshead Bay Merchants’ Association that demonstrates how business, government and education can work together to benefit the neighborhood.

The Sheepshead Bay Merchants’ Association began as an initiative of Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) and BCC to help revitalize the coastal business community following the economic devastation of Superstorm Sandy.

The new initiative was proposed by Cymbrowitz to enable local businesses to make use of Kingsborough’s many resources while reinforcing economic development in the area.

BCC President and CEO Andrew Hoan explained the details to the Brooklyn Eagle. “After Sandy, it was evident that Sheepshead Bay was one of the neighborhoods, like much of Brooklyn’s south shore, that was going to have a hard time rebounding from the losses,” he said.

“We found that communities with strong and thriving business associations respond better to crisis, so in 2014 we responded to Assemblyman Cymbrowitz’s call, with the support of TD Bank to bring the Citywide Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Program to Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue.”

The initiative proved quite successful. “Now we are thrilled the city of New York’s preeminent community college, our very own Kingsborough, is bringing to bear the resources, students and faculty to reinforce the neighborhood’s landscape,” Hoan added. “We are grateful for the Assemblyman’s leadership, Kingsborough’s commitment and the best days ahead for Sheepshead Bay.”

Cymbrowitz is especially delighted with the results of the alliance. “I’m pleased to join with the Brooklyn Chamber, Kingsborough College and the Sheepshead Bay Merchants’ Association in creating a partnership that will allow us to combine our creative energies, diversity of talents and dynamic resources for the benefit of both the Sheepshead Bay community and the students who will hone their professional skills in a real-life setting,” Cymbrowitz said. “This initiative is a winner for all involved and will establish a mechanism for helping our vibrant business community continue to thrive and grow.”

As a result of the partnership, businesses will be afforded the opportunity for workforce development by utilizing both degree and continuing education courses offered by Kingsborough. Programs include English as a Second Language, food service licensing and hospitality training. A survey that was created in September is underway to identify the needs and concerns of local merchants.

“Having Brooklyn’s only community college right next door to one of its most thriving and diverse neighborhoods is a bonus for Brooklyn,” Hoan said. “We are pleased that Kingsborough has joined us, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz and the Sheepshead Bay Merchants’ Association to provide more resources for the Sheepshead Bay community. This is a true example of the public, private and academic sectors coming together to benefit the borough.”

Thanks to this effort, students will be able to broaden their career experience by interning or apprenticing with a local business related to their field of study. Businesses can even choose to hire this talented pool of future food service employees and digital marketers.

“As Brooklyn’s only community college — and one of the top community colleges in the nation — it is incumbent upon Kingsborough to be a valuable resource to the merchants in its immediate neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay,” said Kingsborough Community College Interim President Peter Cohen.

“We are thankful to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and the Office of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz for their coordinated efforts to engage Kingsborough to serve the needs of the small businesses in Sheepshead Bay in various ways.” 

The first project developed through the partnership has been the creation of a local merchants’ directory, prominently displaying businesses who sponsor the Sheepshead Bay holiday lights display.

Cymbrowitz told the Eagle, “I’ve been working with The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to galvanize business in the community, especially since Hurricane Sandy when so many mom-and-pop stores were destroyed and had to rebuild from scratch. Since then, we’ve had success in unifying the store owners by helping them form the Sheepshead Bay Merchants’ Association and sponsoring initiatives like the Sheepshead Bay Summer Stroll and reviving the holiday lights display for the first time in over 15 years.

“I’ve worked closely with Kingsborough Community College throughout my 18 years in the Assembly and knew they would be a terrific community partner in this project. Kingsborough’s resources and the talents and enthusiasm of its students have already been invaluable in assisting the Merchants’ Association members. We’re looking forward to seeing this collaboration move forward.”


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