With phase four of economic reopening underway, the city of Yonkers has begun a new marketing campaign titled “Yonkers is Back to Business!”
Mayor Mike Spano, other city officials and business leaders gathered outside of city hall July 9 for a news conference to announce the campaign’s launch. It was developed by the public relations, marketing and advertising agency Thompson & Bender, which is based in Briarcliff Manor.
“This has been a tough pandemic. Yonkers was hit especially hard,” Spano told the Business Journal. “The economic development that was planned, that was in the ground, has come back to life. There are people here and they are building buildings, building structures. Restaurants are opening. Restaurants now have to change their business dynamics, they’re in the streets, and so all across the city we can actually go and spend a nice night under the stars and have dinner anywhere in our city.”
Spano said that United Parcel Service coming to town in a 435,000-square-foot distribution center on Tuckahoe Road is a major plus and he pointed to the importance for Yonkers of a longtime major destination for consumers.
“Over a million people a year travel to Stew Leonard’s. So, it’s a great place to do business,” Spano said. “We have reemerged stronger than ever. You don’t have over $3 billion worth of economic development activity in our city by accident. You have it because you have a team that has worked hard and a team that has encouraged businesses and is willing to work to bring businesses to our community, willing to work to keep businesses in our community.”
Elizabeth Bracken-Thompson, a partner with Thompson & Bender, told the gathering that the goal of the campaign, which is the next iteration of the seven-year “Generation Yonkers” marketing campaign, is to position the city as the major pro-business location in the New York metro market.
“The campaign has two target audiences: New York City-based companies looking for satellite office locations within Westchester County and the general public who are looking for great places to live, to work and to play and so many of Yonkers’ great restaurants, retail stores, food stores, consumer goods, hotels, museums and places to live and to stay are featured,” Bracken-Thompson said. “It’s all about celebrating the fact that Yonkers is back to business.”
She said that a directory of businesses has been added to the Generation Yonkers website.
“We’re also launching a social media campaign called #YonkersBack2Biz inviting all business to share their information so we can add them to our directory,” Bracken-Thompson said. She said businesses interested in relocating to Yonkers should contact the city’s Planning and Development Commissioner Lou Albano.
Other elements in the new campaign include: ads on radio, which started running today; digital ads on business-focused and other websites; direct mail targeted to real estate brokers; outdoor billboards; and signs for stores.
Among the representatives of businesses in Yonkers at the event were: Brian Cannon, North Atlantic district president of UPS; Rory Dolan, owner of Rory Dolan’s Restaurant & Bar in Yonkers; Jennifer Ann Sefara Perry, CEO and founder of Sacred Seeds; real estate developer and owner of the Hampton Inn & Suites in Yonkers, Alan Weissman; Peter X. Kelly, whose Xaviars Restaurant Group includes X2O Xaviars on the Hudson in Yonkers; and Stew Leonard Jr., president and CEO of Stew Leonard’s
“Stew Leonard’s has been open from day one and we’ve seen a tremendous pickup in the volume because restaurants were closed and schools were closed,” Leonard told the Business Journal. However, he that said recently they’ve seen volume starting to “trickle down” a little bit.
“The sales aren’t the same as they were in April and even in May. You can see them starting to trickle down a little bit as the restaurants open, and I’m so happy for them. I want to see a vibrant restaurant community out there and especially local,” Leonard said. “You have to do the triple-cleaning. You have to have everybody in your store wear masks or your salon or whatever, restaurant, and you really have to practice social distancing and have plenty of saniwipes and hand sanitizer around your facility because what the goal is is to make the customer feel comfortable.”
Leonard said that he tells the employees at his stores that the stores are the cleanest place they can be all day. He said that all businesses reopening right now should keep one goal in mind: “Make the customer feel comfortable”
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