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Queens Chronicle

Chain stores increase, small shops struggle

Study finds 2.1% growth in number of national chains opening in Queens

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Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 10:43 am, Thu Jan 3, 2013.

A new study released by the Center for Urban Future, a Manhattan-based nonprofit, showed that the number of chain stores in Queens grew at 2.1 percent adding more brand names to the borough’s growing list.

The State of the Chains 2012 annual report stated that New York City as a whole added more chain stores this year with a 2.4 percent increase.

Of the city’s five boroughs, Queens boasts the highest number of chain stores which include names like Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin Robbins and Rite Aid, according to the report.

The report mentioned that this marks the fifth straight year there has been a net increase in the number of chain stores in all the five boroughs.

Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said this might be due to the expanding malls aready in the borough.

“In the last two years,” he said. “we have had new malls like Rego Park, I am not sure if these statistics relate to the malls.”

Friedman wants to see growth in independant businesses rather than chain stores.

“There isn’t anyhting new or earth shattering about this; I would like rather see local businesses than chain stores grow,” he said.

Friedman belives that even though retail stores can increase job opportunities they are still not neccesarily improving the economy.

“I am not seeing a benefit, it’s not incremental. I would rather go to a local business than a chain store,” Friedman said.

Friedman said that mom-and-pop stores are still hurting from the economic downturn and the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

“I am not seeing a lot of new chains stores opening up on Austin Street, I am seeing more chain stores in the malls that already exist,” he added.

The number of new national chain stores in Queens reached 34 this year, with Subway enjoying the biggest expansion in the borough, with 11 new stores; GNC next with six; followed by T-Mobile with five; and Baskin-Robbins with two.

Friedman commented that small independent businesses usually struggle more with economic recovery than chain stores.

“They don’t have the money to go through tough times, the same way a national chain would,” he said.

Divided by ZIP code, Corona and Elmhurst had the most national retailers, with 144, followed by Forest Hills with 89, Ridgewood with 85, Flushing with 70, part of Jamaica with 68, Astoria with 66, Jackson Heights with 63, Rego Park with 54, JFK Airport with 50, and Bayside with 43.

The fewest were found in Breezy Point, with zero, another part of Jamaica with zero, a third part of the community with one, Far Rockaway and Arverne with two, and a fourth part of Jamaica with two.

The tally of chain stores was conducted in July and August 2012, and is based on each chain’s store locator at that time.

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