Survey: Boro small biz growing

Bronx small businesses are growing as they head into 2014 – but with baby steps, according to a new poll.

Though 40 percent of the borough’s small business owners surveyed said they expected to make more profit this year than they did in 2013, only 29 percent said that they’d be hiring more employees, according to the TD Bank survey, dubbed the Small Business Pulse Check.

The survey polled 700 small businesses —defined as those with less than $5 million in annual sales and fewer than 100 employees — across the five boroughs to gauge the concerns of small business owners.

Moving up, but slowly

The Bronx came out showing signs of growth. Nearly 20 percent of the polled businesses said they had applied for a loan in 2013 —a rate far higher than in any of the other boroughs.

But there remain lingering concerns about the national economy and about the new Affordable Care Act, which requires small businesses to provide new plans to insure their employees.

More Bronx small business owners worried that the new healthcare bill would hurt their bottom line than in the other boroughs, though the rate of concerned Bronx businesspeople was still a mere 35 percent, according to the poll.

Rattled by DeBlasio

Small business owners are concerned about politics at a local level as well. Many feel at a crossroads in the beginning stages of Mayor DeBlasio’s administration.

Business owners have complained for years that the city was unfairly raising revenue by slapping them with fines, something that DeBlasio has said he would address in the coming weeks.

But many smaller employers took issue with deBlasio’s proposed law that requires employers with more than five employees to give their workers five paid sick days a year.

A section of that law gives the city the ability to conduct investigations “on its own initiative,” which John Bonizio, chairman of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District, says oversteps the city’s bounds.

“Back-door approaches such as these are the ideals that most of you complained about under the previous administration; slipping them back into this law is hypocritical,” wrote Bonizio in a letter to the Times-Reporter.

One idea to better the small business climate —and to encourage more hiring in the State’s most unemployed county —is to create a small business panel with Bronxites on board.

“We should be represented with a fair number of our own representatives so that our voice is heard,” said John Cerini, the owner of Capital Shield Insurance Agency in Throggs Neck.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail her at Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.

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