By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The city is trying to make like a little easier for owners of small businesses, but many merchants are unaware of the help that is available, a Brooklyn councilman said.
Councilman David Greenfield (D-Borough Park-Midwood-Bensonhurst) recently met with business owners to urge them to use city services that have been set up to assist them. In particular, Greenfield pointed to a new initiative by the Department of Consumer Affairs called “Good for Customers, Great for Business.” Under the program, local businesses can learn the exact rules and regulations they must follow to keep the public safe and avoid the onerous fines that make doing business in New York City so difficult, expensive, and frustrating.
The “Good for Customers, Great for Business” initiative includes an online feature called Live Chat, which allows businesses to exclusively ask questions and get immediate answers from Department of Consumer Affairs representatives during business hours, without having to take time away from their business to visit agency’s licensing center or to conduct a lengthy phone conversation.
In addition, business owners can learn beforehand exactly what inspectors from the Dept. of Consumer Affairs are looking for when they inspect a business. The inspection checklists are available online at the agency’s Business Toolbox, along with all of the signs, forms and other information businesses need to comply with all laws and regulations governing their industry.
“The biggest complaint I have heard from small business owners is the arbitrary and ever-changing nature of the inspection process. If everyone knows exactly what the rules and requirements are, the system will work better for everyone involved, including the customer," Greenfield said.
“I have heard from so many frustrated small business owners about just how difficult it is to earn an honest living in New York City these days without being subjected to crippling fines, which in many cases are unfairly and arbitrarily issued by inspectors. I urge everyone who runs a local business to take advantage of these resources to avoid unnecessary fines,” he said.
Greenfield said he has worked closely with small business owners to improve the economic climate throughout his district, which is home to many small businesses. He urged business owners to call his office at 718-853-2704 to report any issues or problems they are facing.