Vote Yes! on SFC By George Kuri
I wanted to again thank you for allowing the public to voice their thoughts and concerns about the SFC Project. I also wanted to thank you for truly living up to the task of your positions and making sure of every detail with nothing but the best interest of Yonkers in mind. At the end of the day, that is what people in your position need to do.
I don't mean to take up too much of your time with this email but last night, I could have gone on for some time with conversations I've had with people from all walks of life in our Deli and during the construction phase.
My father purchased this building in the late 70's and it was passed on to us. We could have very easily put the building on the market, sold it, and reinvested the money somewhere else. Or we could have put the business itself up for rent and collected rent while I maintained my professional career in technology sales dealing with corporations as well as municipalities. After a fire in June 2007 in our building, we decided to open up a family owned business in an up and coming area. Given the timing of everything, I couldn't pass up the opportunity as the economic times were affecting how companies were spending in the business I was in and it gave me the opportunity to run and manage my own business.
The money that went into opening our doors was well above what may have needed to be spent but each and every dollar that went into our business was done so with the idea and thought that this project was going to happen. We wanted to make sure that the Deli fit in with what the City of Yonkers had strong intentions of doing.
Now, I know given the location that we are in, as long as we manage costs,, and most importantly provide service, we will have a successful family business. Though, the thought of what has happened to some of the businesses that banked on the development crosses my mind I am not relying on that to be our lifeline! My father did just that years ago and there was no Ballpark being built or any new development. Just a different Yonkers at the time. But this is a much different time for Yonkers!
Over time, as they say, the more things change the more they stay the same! And that is what is wrong with Yonkers now. Nothing seems to move forward. We are where we were years ago from a development stand point. We have the greatest city in Westchester County by far and we are still the same, as other cities continue to grow and move forward!
Given the economic times and financial struggles of the country as a whole, it is hard to justify spending as much money as this particular type project calls for. I want to point out to you some recent news that may seem like it has nothing to do with this project but from a management standpoint, its not that far off.
GM, an American staple, brand, and corner stone for years, just filed for bankruptcy. As devastating as that may seem to be, it was no surprise to those that studied GM for years. In my business classes at Manhattan College, GM was a case study.. I practically had nightmares about GM; we talked about them so much. But I'm glad we did as I will never make the same mistake in my business or any business I take part in. Their problems today didn't start recently but rather 30 or so years ago when management at the time didn't make the right decisions and adapt to the market around them. They didn't reinvest properly and they were so stuck in their ways and stagnant or should I say, complacent, that they assumed that people(customers)wouldn't change their ways and always buy an "American product". Well they did change their ways and they moved onto something different!
In our case, the people are represented by businesses and citizens. Management is represented by you who have the ability to make sure businesses and people don't leave Yonkers and in fact are attracted to Yonkers. This is the time to do it.
Our business (building) and everything that went into it is nothing but a microcosm of what this project would mean to Yonkers. Its not just the future we're talking about; its the present moment as well as each moment from now until a shovel breaks ground.
We employed people for nearly 2 years in developing the site; we've financed money from local banks; we've hired people who use the money to help pay for their college tuition or help pay for rent; we've paid for local contractors, electricians, plumbers, architects, and engineers. We've bought nearly all of the material from local businesses. Not to mention, the number of fee's and permits paid for during the construction process as well as what was needed to open the doors. I've paid sales tax, payroll tax, state tax, etc.... We are a deli with no corporate conglomerate backing. With life savings and credit lines out to build this business. I can only imagine what it would be like if companies with money in the bank wanted in and began filling the store fronts of this project. Companies that can actually afford to offer health insurance, 401K's, vacation time, etc.... And at the same time, improve upon what Yonkers already has to offer 100 times over!
Again, as I mentioned last night, I don't know all the details. I don't know the figures, but I can tell you that the people here, in this area, those that work in this area, the community, want this to happen! Some people last night were worried about giving a lot of unused space to a developer as if they can take it somewhere? Its not going any where? But with out this project, neither is Yonkers!
I appreciate your time and really hope that you will be able to make this happen. I don't want to be the only one to bring a Ballpark to Yonkers!! :-)
George Kuri is the president of Kuri's Ballpark Deli at 204 New Main Street.