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Bell Boulevard businesses will be keeping their doors open later this summer as part of a new initiative to draw more shoppers to Bayside, business leaders said.
Lyle Sclair, executive director of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District, said the idea for Thursday Nights Out came from the boulevard’s own merchants, including managers at Havanah Hut and Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse.
“They noticed that people tend to stay home over the summer to barbecue or go away on vacation,” Sclair said. “We thought this would be a good way to pump up business before people get too busy.”
Starting Memorial Day and continuing through Labor Day, businesses will stay open until 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. for what Sclair called a transitional time along the boulevard where evening shopping meets nightlife. It is an ideal time, he said, because parking along Bell Boulevard is free after 7 p.m.
“The goal is to help promote the image of Bell Boulevard into a much more family-friendly area this summer,” Sclair said. “There are so many more businesses in Bayside that go beyond just bars and restaurants.”
And even if the storefronts already are open now during those hours, Sclair said they would be offering specials to promote more commerce in Bayside during the later hours throughout the summer.
“Some of them might already be open late, but a lot of people don’t realize it,” Sclair said. “It’s more of an awareness campaign. We have a lot of people participating that people should know more about.”
One area that Sclair said was just waiting to be tapped into was the bustling Long Island Rail Road station between 41st and 42nd avenues, where commuters coming off the trains hit the boulevard in bursts throughout the evening. If successful in attracting that demographic, Sclair said they would be more likely to stick around before heading home to beat the summer heat.
The BID director said 12 businesses have already signed onto the program and he anticipated more would join, including American Vision, Athena Jewelry, Bareburger, Bayside Florist, Donovan’s, Erawan Thai, Karma Boutique, Press 195, Lucille Roberts, Ralph’s Italian Ices, the Tuxedo Shop of New York and VIPizza.
For more information on the unique specials being offered in promotion of Thursday Nights Out, Sclair said shoppers can check with the Bayside BID website at baysidevillage.net.
The BID will also be promoting the event through its weekly newsletters and social media, while businesses participating in the promotion will be given BID postcards to promote their own specials for the week, Sclair said.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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