RBA Implements Main Street Initiative

Program aims to boost growth, influence of county’s small-retail community

PEARL RIVER, N.Y. (July 17, 2013) – The Rockland Business Association (RBA) has announced the formation of the Main Street Initiative, a new program designed to provide small retail establishments in Rockland County with the benefits of an RBA membership as well as a larger venue to expand business owners’ participation at the county, state and federal levels.

The initiative was conceived from the struggles that Rockland County’s small-retail community continues to face in recent years and months. In addition to the recession, high taxes and current socioeconomic conditions burden those establishments that once thrived in past decades. The program would give small businesses the platform to help mold advocacy issues and would provide them the knowledge and insight required to succeed financially in this trying time.

Companies interested in joining the RBA and the Main Street Initiative will receive discounted memberships equal to the smallest charitable organizations. Eligible businesses must have a brick-and-mortar operation and up to two full-time employees. Through the RBA, they will have access to resources such as the Small Business Council, Women’s Forum, Tech Initiative, Economic Development & Government Affairs Committee and more.

Roger Scheiber, Vice President Development for the RBA, knows firsthand the impact this type of resource can have on small businesses; he owned and operated a Manhattan leather goods store for nearly 25 years.

“Despite the success my company saw, I never really had peer advisors who I could trust to talk to about important decision-making processes,” explained Scheiber. “The economy had changed drastically and I believed my business would turn around to where it was previously. If I had had this resource and understanding of the marketplace, I probably would have done things differently—and gotten a better outcome.”

“This is exactly the kind of person we are looking to reach out to,” explained RBA President and CEO, Al Samuels, of Scheiber’s account. “We recognize that this type of cohort does not have a strong voice in the county- and state-wide governments that is necessary for growth and sustainability, and we want to help provide that.”

Currently there are over 3,000 retail establishments in Rockland County; and according a report by The Nielsen Co., a leading global information and measurement company, there will be a total consumer demand of $5 billion in 2013 alone. The figures, made available in the 2013-2014 RBA Directory, also state that by 2018 this demand will grow more than 10 percent to $5.7 billion. This new initiative will equip the County’s small-retail establishments with the insight and tools to meet this demand.

“We are delighted at being a greater resource for Rockland’s small-retail business community,” said Samuels. “These establishments are some of the greatest contributors to the character and small-town charm that our communities hold, and we are committed to both cultivating and sustaining this appeal for the economic well-being and continuity of the County.

Future plans to incorporate the Main Street Initiative into the RBA’s overall mission include the possibility of a Retail Council, as well as retail participation on its Board of Directors.