ANHD’s Citywide Merchant Organizing Project (CMOP) is an initiative started in 2022 that works toward increased merchant organizing coordination and collaboration among neighborhoods and a stronger citywide base of merchants ready to fight against displacement threats.

In the same year, ANHD released The State of Storefronts, revealing high vacancy rates and rising rents in predominantly immigrant neighborhoods and communities of color. By combining CMOP’s data collection efforts with coordinated merchant base building and leadership development, we can lay the groundwork for tackling these issues through education and advocacy.

The Project

Through the Citywide Merchant Organizing Project ANHD and seven community partners are working across neighborhoods to coordinate merchant organizing efforts along commercial corridors in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods that are also home to communities of color and immigrants.

ANHD is providing tools, resources, and technical assistance to support merchant organizing in these neighborhoods.We've worked with organizers and merchant leaders to co-design a survey that helps us gather quantitative and qualitative data about how New York City’s small businesses have been impacted by rising commercial rents related to speculation and gentrification. The survey assesses challenges related to rent burden, lease negotiation, and landlord harassment among small businesses. The information collected will inform both merchant engagement and future ANHD advocacy that our partners will undertake to combat small business displacement and the lack of affordable commercial spaces.

Who’s Involved

ANHD has 7 partner organizations that provide critical support services to keep small businesses alive in low-income communities across NYC. Frontline nonprofit staff members help small businesses to access capital and navigate bureaucratic systems; they engage merchants in leadership development opportunities; create avenues for collective action; and build merchant power against the threat of small business displacement.

ANHD Member & Board Member Organizations
Chhaya CDC in Jackson Heights, Queens
Cooper Square Committee in the Lower East Side/East Village, Manhattan

ANHD Member Organizations
BKLVLUP, Brooklyn
Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, the Bronx
Local CBO Partners
Asian American Federation in Elmhurst, Queens
REMA4US in Far Rockaway, Queens
Yemeni American Merchants Association in Little Yemen, the Bronx
These non-profits support a number of small businesses in their community, including, but not limited to: 
  • Alfakhamah, Yemeni boutique, 855 Morris Park Avenue, the Bronx
  • Sabor a Mexico, Mexican restaurant, 160 1st Avenue, East Village
  • Nepali Bhanchha Ghar, Nepali restaurant, 74-15 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights
  • Purrfect Pets, pet store, 1914 Mott Avenue, Far Rockaway
  • Boba Fries, restaurant, 81-21 Broadway, Elmhurst
  • Yusuf Fabrics, fabric store, 37-24 74th Street, Jackson Heights
  • Jontue Discount Boutique, clothing store, 1825 Mott Avenue, Far Rockaway
  • Y Tech Corp, tech repair shop, 1801 White Plains Road, the Bronx
  • Ricky's Cafe, restaurant, 75-02 37th Ave, Jackson Heights
Funding partners:
ANHD’s Commercial Merchant Organizing Program is a Neighborhood 360° Program created by the New York City Department of Small Business Services to identify, develop, and launch commercial revitalization projects in partnership with local stakeholders. This program receives additional support from Goldman Sachs Bank USA. 

Related Resources

New survey shows one in four small businesses may close this year
ANHD's map of storefront rents 2019-2021 shows large increases outside of Manhattan
Analysis of new storefront registry data shows Council Districts where small businesses may face displacement pressures
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses were facing displacement pressure from rising rents. And of course pandemic shutdowns caused a severe crisis for countless small businesses.

November 25, 2023
This video series shares the stories of the merchant leaders of the Citywide Merchant Organizing Project. In addition to owning and operating storefront businesses, they organize to fight displacement pressures, build community wealth, and drive truly equitable economic development.