Category Archives: Economy

Family-Owned NY Businesses

According to Westfair Communications correspondent Peter Katz, “family-owned businesses form the foundation of the U.S. economy.” Statistically this means that around 64 percent of America’s GDP comes from these businesses with 36 percent of all employees working in the family businesses.  In addition, for the economy, 40 to 46 percent of all annual sales come from family-owned businesses.

But how successful are these family-run businesses?  According to recent data from the Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, only 16 percent of businesses are successfully transmitted from a founder to the next generation.  The numbers continue to diminish through each generation, reaching a mere 2 percent by the fourth generation.

But there is some good news for New Yorkers, as was seen at the 2017 award ceremony for Westchester and Fairfield counties’ family businesses.  According to Dee DelBello, Westfair Communications Publisher, these counties comprise “the most diverse, successful and community-minded family businesses…Family-owned businesses are the backbone of our country and its economy, and that’s just as true for Westchester and Fairfield counties.”

One of the award winners was Mamaroneck’s Walter’s Hot Dog Stand.  Recipient Christine Warrington accepted the award together with her children.  She is a third generation family member to run the company which was launched in 1919 by her grandparents.  Today, her three children aged 39, 31 and 27 are all working to “continue the legacy of Walter’s.”

if so much of America’s economy is dependent on family-run businesses, wouldn’t it make sense for more people to at least give it a try?

Bolstering NYC Businesses

Businesses in New York are getting boosts from a few different industries.  Two which are of particular note are the NYC Love Your Local and the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline.

A new approach has been put in place by the Department of Small Business Services with its establishment of the NYC Love Your Local. Created in order to “celebrate and promote small businesses throughout the five boroughs,” New Yorkers are being encouraged to share their favorite businesses (independent and non-franchised). Thereafter these will be included in an online interactive map.  As Gregg Bishop, commissioner for the Department of Small Business services pointed out, “

“Independent, small businesses are the backbone of our neighborhoods, and the ‘NYC Love Your Local’ initiative recognizes and supports their vital role in the fabric of New York City. New York City is full of unique neighborhoods that are given character by local merchants and entrepreneurs. New Yorkers should share their favorite neighborhood business and be sure to share their love.”

It is hoped that this initiative will creatively encourage people to make purchases in local stores, which in turn will provide more access to capital for these businesses and improve their services.

Mayor de Blasio’s NYC Tech Talent Pipeline is meanwhile seeing an investment of $1 million into the program that brings together students and tech jobs.  While de Blasio set this up three years ago (and has over that time brought together educational institutes with NYC’s booming technology industry), now new tech

apprenticeships and internships  are being offered at top level firms such as Accenture, IBM and Verizon.

Castle Harlan Has Case Dismissed

In recent news, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division just dismissed a seven-count complaint that was brought by the Russian-owned companies Norcast S.ár.l and Pala Investments Ltd. against Castle Harlan Inc. In 2011, Castle Harlan purchased a Canadian mining products company, Norcast Wear Solutions, and the plaintiffs claimed that Castle Harlan purchased it from them for $190 million in a private sale and sold in four hours later for a higher price. Castle Harlan was cleared of all wrong doing, as the Appellate Division, First Department explained that there was not a no-flip clause in the share purchase agreement and that no actionable wrongdoing could be proven.

New York Economy: Give Thanks to Thanksgiving Shopping

Thanksgiving used to just be about the food and the football.  In recent years that has expanded to the shopping.  And the trend just keeps getting stronger.  According to Adobe, online shoppers racked up a staggering $3.34 billion on Black Friday; this was 21.6 percent more than Black Friday 2015. Mobile devices were used for more of the deals than in past years.  It seemed like people were getting a head start of Cyber Monday, since, according to Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director at Adobe Digital Insights, the increased access to mobile devices was likely a significant contributing factor to shoppers using the Internet so early on in the festive season.  One major item that was significantly reduced in price was tablets, which gave shoppers the option of purchasing for an average 25.4 percent less.

Thanksgiving Day, as well as Wednesday 23rd were also times of high spending for New Yorkers and other shoppers throughout the nation.  In New York, security along Fifth Avenue was particularly tight, given the hordes of people expected to come for the sales.  While some salespeople had been complaining that sales had plummeted since the election, the Black Friday weekend sales have now turned this around. Indeed, America’s Research Group President, Britt Beemer, said: “I’m calling it the ‘Trump Effect,’” as he noted how many Americans were suddenly in the ‘spending mood.’  He further explained that: “Americans don’t feel any better about their job situation, they’re not better off, but the perception is that tomorrow things will get better.”

However, it seems that due to the huge discounts that were being offered over the holiday period, the economy fared less well.  Shoppers did their part – picking up lots of great new gadgets, etc. – but the spending per person was less due to the discounts they’ve come to expect. Indeed, according to a National Retail Federation survey, when all was said and done, year-on-year over the four day holiday period the average spending per person was 3.5 percent less than 2015 (coming in at $289.19).  This, despite the fact that there were more customers shopping than a year ago (around three million more).

Post-Election Hunger?

fast-foodDid the election campaign have any impact on fast food chains?  And if so, was that ultimately positive or negative? Either way these companies have been utilizing the election as a data point to explain the ebbs and flows of their businesses in the last few months.

One example of this has been the perception of Jack in the Box executives.  According to an article from the end of last month written by Conor Dougherty in The New York Times, during the campaigns, they concluded that because of so much uncertainty, consumers became less committed to purchasing their cheeseburgers and Jumbo Jacks.

However, after the election that seemed to change.  Gillian Rich, in an article published just last week in Investors Business Daily pointed out that Trump’s “victory has already helped put restaurant stocks back on the menu.”  She wrote that:

“Shares of Jack in the Box, which was added to IBD’s Leaderboard Thursday,  jumped 2.3% to 102.54 on the stock market today, consolidating in a flat base and nearing its buy point of 102.78.”

And it is anticipated that by next week the firm (which is also the proprietor of Qboda Mexican Eats) will have quarterly results that will increase 42% to 88 cents and revenue up 12.6% to $398.67 million.

In general restaurants in New York find it challenging to succeed. It’s always been a tough market but it seems that now – with, increasing rents, a higher minimum wage along with city hall bureaucracy and Instagram-obsessed customers, according to Hailey Eber in The New York Post, “many of the city’s most talented chefs [are] throw[ing] in the dish towel, and New York’s once vibrant dining scene is turning bland.”

And thus rather than remain in New York, some of the creative talents are leaving for Los Angeles, which seems to have a better reputation – for now – when it comes to survival and success in the restaurant business.


New York Works: Where the Battle of the Big Bucks

newyorkWhere are the highest salaries and best working conditions in New York? We often believe that small firms are the way to go when it comes to the creation of additional jobs.  And that might be true.  But when one is seeking out the highest salaries and greater benefits, the Scale Up New York report found that the smaller-sized companies require assistance against issues that obstruct growth so that they too may be able to provide higher salaries.

The facts speak for themselves.  Firms that employ more than 500 staff members pay an average of $97,839 whereas companies with less than 20 employees pay an average of $49,041. That divergence is way too large. But what happens is, according to Executive Director of the Center for an Urban Future, Jonathan Bowles, is that “small businesses are tripped up just at the point when they try to grow.”  One example of this is how hard it is to get the loan that is often required for expansion given the diminishing number of community banks (half as many as there were in 1992).

Microsoft does not seem to have a problem with working in New York City.  But there again, that is quite the corporation.  In a recent announcement the company said it will be renting office space from WeWork for 300 of its employees in NYC.  This is so that it can give its participating MSFT employees a more flexible office arrangement as with this WeWork membership they will be able to choose from 30 different office locations around the city. As CDO of WeWork, David Fano explained, they are “making a big push into bettering our offerings for what we call ‘enterprise customers.’”

Post-Brexit, New York Thrives

brexitAccording to Sir Jon Cunliffe, Bank of England Deputy Governor, New York is faring better than other principal European fiscal centers, after Brexit.  In the meantime, various of these regions have been trying to offer services that have traditionally been the hallmark of the UK’s services.  They have not been successful.  More than that, Cunliffe doubts that in the future these will be successful either.

This sentiment was supported by the London Stock Exchange which, in a statement said if businesses decide to leave London, European centers will not be there next natural destination. In an article in The Daily Telegraph, LSE Group CEO Xavier Rolet said the reason for this was because: “the UK financial ecosystem, with clearing at its heart, makes London the most economically attractive and stable destination for global investors and issuers. It is no longer just a few banks transacting individual products but the innovative home of global finance.”

Meanwhile, Philip Hammond, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer just told Wall Street executives about his determination to “safeguard the City of London” against concerns of Brexit resulting in prompting banks to move work and operations out of the region.

NYC’s Digital Business Day

The next Digital Business Day in New York is happening next month, October 3rd to 4th. Here, you will get the opportunity to investigate the Digital Business Platform trusted by top brands around the world. Learn how to successfully develop digital business applications, expediting your company’s transformation into the Digital Age.

Meet experts and get tips for digital transformation endeavors. Learn about new cases your industry can benefit from with the presentations. Take part in interactive roundtables guided by product and industry thought leaders. Network and be privy to an insider’s view on getting top value from digital trends. Ultimately, learn how to achieve your digital transformation goals.

To join New York’s next Digital Business Day, visit:

New York E-Commerce

e-commerceWheels Up is launching a two-tiered e-commerce site:  a) for potential customers who want to purchase their apparel (most notably the Wheels Up baseball hats) and b) apparel available for purchase exclusively by members.  Currently Wheels Up boasts 2,500 moneyed members.  Another initiative from Wheels Up is its upcoming partnership with Barneys New York, as a way of offering special benefits to its members.

Then there is which was established on a desire to challenge Amazon’s hold on the global e-commerce hold.   In view of this, it is currently engaging in talks with Walmart to buy it out.  Whether this transpires or not, the fact that talks are happening is indicative of the challenges of the US’s e-commerce market (currently valued at $350 billion), much of which is owned by Amazon.  Competitors have tried to take on the Amazon giant until now but none have as yet succeeded.  Maybe this venture – should it happen – will be the one to shake it once and for all.

Indeed, one current example of Amazon’s online retail domination is the ‘back to school supplies.’ Not only is this eking out traditional department and discount store chains but also other e-commerce sites.  Now, the actual stores are trying to compete with Amazon, by, according to a recent article in the New York Post by Catherine Curan, “converting their brands into omnichannel retailers that make it easy for shoppers to buy online, in-store or from a mobile device — and move seamlessly among all three options.”  As Walmart’s CFO, Brett Biggs pointed out, “Growth … looks different today… It’s still about comp sales and … building stores. But now it’s about mobile e-commerce … fulfillment capabilities … and developing new services.”