Written by Daniel Offner Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00
Recent efforts to revitalize commerce on Main Street in Farmingdale have been enticing new businesses to the village’s business district. Just this past year, ten new businesses have opened shop, and some existing businesses expanded.
The newcomers range from eateries like The Rolling Spring Roll and The DiVine Olive to health and fitness outlets such as Satya Yoga Studio and Phoenix Eastern Medical Center to business services such as Parcel Management Auditing and Consulting.
“We are thrilled to welcome new businesses to Farmingdale Village,” said Mayor Ralph Ekstrand. “The caliber of shops and merchants continue to offer a dynamic variety of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences.”
Through a Community Development Block Grant [CDBG] from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, passed down through Nassau County, the village is able to assist local business owners purchase new lights, signs and awnings, by subsidizing up to 80 percent of the cost to redo the façade.
This year, Nassau County government awarded the village $225,000 in federal CDBG funds—$70,000 more than in prior years—in order to keep the program going. The grant allocations include $175,000 for commercial rehabilitation projects, $25,000 for residential rehabilitation, $20,000 for parking facility improvements and $5,000 for streetscape enhancements.
“A lot of villages don’t want to do it because it’s a tremendous amount of work,” Ekstrand added. “But we’re always overachieving.”
With newfound success, Ekstrand said the village has seen an uptick in the number of businesses interested in participating in the façade rehabilitation program, with roughly 35 businesses on the waiting list as of press time.
Still in its initial phase, village officials say, the project will next focus on improving the rear façades and entrances to businesses downtown.
President of the Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce Beth Mignone said she feels the enhanced signage alone has already helped make the business district downtown more aesthetically pleasing, and further revitalization will be even better.
“I do think it will make [downtown] a prettier, nicer place to be,” Mignone said.
In addition to the facade rehabilitation program, the village has also been working to attract businesses downtown by fast-tracking the Building Department’s permit approval process.
“[The village] has been working very hard to get through a lot of red tape and is doing the best it can to implement the programs,” Mignone added.
Although Mignone feels that the uniformity of wooden signs gives downtown Farmingdale “a more quaint feel,” she stressed the need for an anchor store—such as Stew Leonard’s or Uncle Giuseppe’s—to draw more commerce to the village.
Despite the downtown’s lack of name-brand storefronts, six additional businesses plan on opening shop in Farmingdale, including: Cafe Dolce Vita, the Dark Horse Tavern, Thomas & Ellen, Charlotte’s Frozen Yogurt, Blue Hawaiian Restaurant and a Farmingdale Diner.