Staten Island has seen many stores and restaurants close this year, from chains like Staples, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and most recently, Christmas Tree Shoppes, to independent places like Bruno Bakery on Hylan Boulevard. But Staten Island resident Marcie Delapaz is trying to stop this downward economic trend by helping local businesses thrive through her program, Created for You Artists Market on Staten Island.
As far as chain stores go, it’s especially grim. The Center for an Urban Future’s fifteenth annual report tracking chain retail trends in New York found that 57% of the retailers that were featured in its 2019 State of the Chains report have fewer locations today than they did before the pandemic, including 11% who no longer have any stores here. Additionally, all eight of the city’s largest chain retailers have fewer locations today than they did in 2019. (This is as of December 2022, when the report was released.)
Delapaz is concerned about stores closing and seeing a rise in online shopping, which is why she’s continuing to grow Created for You. And this summer she launched Friday Summer Nights at the Empire Outlets, St. George, as a way to support local businesses and entrepreneurs as well as the local economy within the borough.
“We’ve realized that there are so many talents/businesses/services on the island that no one knows about and we want to support small businesses and entrepreneurs that are looking to expand their brand to the public,” Delapaz said.
Delapaz holds periodic vendor markets throughout the year—all with different themes—but Friday Summer Nights is her first summer seasonal series, which kicked off on July 7, and will be open on select Fridays, 3 to 8pm, now through Sept. 22, at the Empire Outlets, 55 Richmond Terr.
What to Expect at Summer Friday Nights by Created for You Artists Market on Staten Island
Summer Friday Nights features a mix of vendors selling products including home decor, soaps, jewelry and accessories, even food and mock-tails. There are other activities for Staten Islanders to enjoy, too, including music and live performances.
In addition to providing unique artisan products for customers to browse, Friday Summer Nights, like similar Created for You artist markets held throughout the year, is designed to bring recognition to lesser known businesses. The series is a way for business owners to make connections with potential customers while networking with other vendors.
“I wanted to create this type of Fridays afterwork ‘sip, shop, eat feel’ at the Empire Outlets because it is so beneficial for all small businesses to have a space without the brick-and-mortar commitment,” Delapaz explained. “It’s a chance to grow their brand.”
An Artists Market on Staten Island that Supports the Borough’s Bakers and Chefs
Food is another industry Delapaz wants to support, which is especially important to her at a time when so many restaurants, such as Panera Bread in Charleston and Bruno Bakery in Dongan Hills, have closed.
“People love to shop and eat and enjoy their time shopping,” she said. “ We’re looking for different types of food cultures, such as Latin, Asian, French, etc. We like to taste the various flavors of the world in one place.”
Delapaz said she’s always looking for more business owners to be part of her program, whether through the Summer Friday Nights series or her other seasonal market events.
“Staten Island needs a space to help promote more of these amazing vendors that they would call home,” she said. “We need more positive entrepreneurs to be a part of this growing vendor community group. Opportunities are available for those that would like to be a part of this market.”
Summer Friday Nights Schedule:
Created for You Artists Market on Staten Island will hold Friday Summer Nights on the following Fridays, from 3 to 8pm: July 14 and 28, Aug. 11 and 25, and Sept. 1 and 22.
For more information, including how to become part of the program, visit createdforyouartistsmarket.com.
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