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LISC NYC, Citi Community Development, NYC SBS, and WHEDco unveil wayfinding campaign to boost businesses on Southern Boulevard

Commercial Corridor Challenge program aimed at strengthening the commercial corridor and businesses along Southern Boulevard in The Bronx

NEW YORK (May 11, 2018) – Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) NYC, Citi Community Development, the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), and the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco) today unveiled a wayfinding campaign that is the first completed physical improvement project that is part of the Commercial Corridor Challenge, a partnership to supplement SBS’s Neighborhood 360⁰ program which strengthens and revitalizes the streets, small businesses, and community-based organizations that anchor New York City neighborhoods.

The Commercial Corridor Challenge program (Corridor Challenge) supports small, locally-owned businesses in rapidly changing neighborhoods, and is part of the City’s larger effort to revitalize Fulton Street in East New York, Brooklyn, Bay Street on the north shore of Staten Island, and Southern Boulevard in the Bronx.

To implement the wayfinding campaign as part of the Corridor Challenge, WHEDco worked with local nonprofit YUCA Arts to design materials that would brighten the corridor, facilitate local shopping, and reflect local communities during ongoing street construction projects along Southern Boulevard. WHEDco collaborated closely with City agencies and sought input from community residents to make this happen.

The wayfinding installation follows a Vendor Pop-Up Market that WHEDco organized last summer as part of the Corridor Challenge to meet local retail needs and bring visibility to entrepreneurs in the area. WHEDco is also in the process of implementing painting and façade improvements with local businesses as part of the program, targeting the blocks near the Freeman Street station. With support from NYC SBS, WHEDco recently completed a Commercial District Needs Assessment (CDNA) to collect data and inform these improvements.

Corridor Challenge applies market-based retailing principles at the neighborhood level through expert technical assistance providers. At each site, low-cost investments were carefully selected with the goal of increasing pedestrian traffic and retail sales for local businesses. Financial assistance was customized for each site to support a suite of complementary improvements that together address corridor fundamentals, including safety, visibility, and promotion. Interventions include storefront and exterior improvements, wayfinding, and targeted marketing events in a concentrated geographic area. The impact of these combined efforts will be measured at each site through comprehensive consumer intercept surveys and electronic pedestrian counts.

The Corridor Challenge enables existing business owners to remain competitive, and new local entrepreneurs to get established in long-struggling neighborhoods that are seeing an economic resurgence. This collaborative approach includes tapping into the strengths and expertise of local partners, including the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation in Brooklyn, and WHEDco in the Bronx, technical assistance from LISC, commercial corridor expertise from Larisa Ortiz Associates, and an investment from Citi Community Development.

 “Strong neighborhoods full of thriving small businesses are the backbone of our great city,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services With the Neighborhood 360° program, we invested in the future of key commercial corridors and now, the Commercial Corridor Challenge is continuing the momentum by providing support to further boost small businesses.”

“The Corridor Challenge is boosting these commercial corridors by providing small businesses with research-based and targeted investment to help them meet the challenges of neighborhoods change. WHEDco’s wayfinding campaign communicates that Southern Boulevard is alive and open for business,” said Sam Marks, Executive Director of LISC NYC. 

“With the right tools, like the wayfinding campaign released today, nonprofits like WHEDco can drive economic resilience for small businesses in their neighborhoods” said Eileen Auld, New York Tri-State Director for Citi Community Development. “By bringing together partners such as LISC and the NYC Department of Small Business Services, the Commercial Corridor Challenge initiative is helping small businesses navigate change in New York City.”

"WHEDco has long been involved with efforts to boost small businesses along Southern Boulevard in Crotona East, where mom-and-pop businesses have the potential to tap into an estimated $168 million a year in retail sales that are now leaking elsewhere. We are grateful to LISC NYC, Citi and SBS for their help in meeting the needs of our local merchants and providing local residents with a better shopping experience," said Davon Russell, President of WHEDco.

About SBS’ Neighborhood 360⁰ program

The Corridor Challenge invests additional resources to build upon initial commitments from SBS. The SBS Neighborhood 360⁰ program strengthens and revitalizes commercial corridors that anchor New York City neighborhoods. Neighborhood 360⁰, a first-of-its-kind partnership between SBS and community stakeholders, develops customized, commercial revitalization programs tailored to specific neighborhood needs as identified through a series of Commercial District Needs Assessments (CDNAs) conducted across the five boroughs, including in Downtown Staten Island and East New York, Brooklyn. The local needs assessments may be found at:

Community-based organizations (CBOs) have been awarded nearly $3 million in program grants per year to develop and staff revitalization projects that address identified needs in the CDNAs, including merchant organizing, business attraction & retention, business support, cleaning & beautification, district marketing, placemaking, public safety, storefront improvements, and other quality of life enhancements.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation NYC

Local Initiatives Support Corporation NYC (LISC NYC) equips struggling communities with the capital, program strategy and know-how to become places where people can thrive. Since founded in 1979, LISC NYC has invested over $2.7 billion, leveraging an additional $6 billion in low-income communities. This has resulted in nearly 40,000 affordable homes built and preserved as well as 1.8 million square feet of retail and community space created. For more information, visit

Citi Community Development

Citi Community Development leads Citi’s commitment to financial inclusion and economic empowerment for underserved individuals, families and communities across the U.S. Through innovative collaborations with municipalities, community groups and leading nonprofit organizations, we harness Citi’s expertise, products and services to help expand opportunity for all.

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 About NYC Small Business Services (SBS) 

SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building thriving neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

 About WHEDco

WHEDco is a community development organization founded 25 years ago on the radically simple idea that all people deserve healthy, vibrant communities. WHEDco’s mission is to give the South Bronx access to all the resources that create thriving neighborhoods – from sustainable, affordable homes, high-quality early education and after-school programs, to fresh, healthy food, cultural programming, and economic opportunity. For more info, visit