This Mother’s Day, Pamper Your Mom at the Square

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12 and what better way to treat Mom than taking advantage of the many businesses the Square has to offer to help her prepare for and enjoy her special day. Help mom get pampered and beautified by bringing her to one of several hair salons and nail service businesses in the district. She’ll be mani pedi ready for sure. Need to buy her an aromatic gift? Esmeralda’s Flower Shop will gladly create a beautiful floral piece that will warm her heart and take her breath away. Breakfast, brunch or dinner anyone? Take mom to one of the distinct restaurants in the district for a memorable and savory experience. Westchester Square BID and its many businesses offers an array options for locals to make Mother’s Day a wonderful one for mom. Gift certificates are available at many of our retail stores. Shop local and celebrate Mother’s Day at the Square. Click here to view.

April Business Bootcamp Recap: Legal Foundations for Small Businesses

In case you missed it, the Business Bootcamp held on April 10, overflowed with a wealth of legal information and advice for small businesses. Facilitated by Jamel Oeser-Sweat, Managing Attorney of Oeser-Sweat, P.C., small business owners were treated to a session regarding business entities (LLC, DBA, Corporation, Non-profit, etc.); internal agreements; intellectual property (patents, copyright, trademarks, etc.); employees vs. independent contractors; contracts and collections; small business trends; breakups; and dissolutions. Attendees actively participated and found the information to be highly beneficial to their businesses.  

Free Mandatory Compliance Training for Sexual Harassment; All Businesses Required to Participate


The NYC Commission on Human Rights has mandated all businesses/employers with 15 or more employees to conduct an annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees each calendar year. All employers must have trained each of their employees by December 31, 2109.

To meet the mandate, free compliance training on Sexual Harassment Regulations is being offered by the Bronx Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, May 22, from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Hutchinson Metro Center. All Westchester Square BID merchants are invited. RSVP is required. Learn more and register by emailing

Ensuring Security of the Westchester Square BID: Anthony Garcia


For over two years, Anthony Garcia has been responsible for safeguarding the Westchester Square BID and making sure the area remains safe for businesses, customers and the general public. Security is a key component to maintaining public safety at the Westchester Square BID and Garcia (“Anthony” as many merchants refer to him) spends his days communicating with the merchants and business, surveying the district, and reporting suspicious activities. His work in the district has allowed owners to have a greater sense of protection as they conduct business and they have come to rely upon him during those times they needed assistance. “The most rewarding part of this job is being able to help the community and I am proud to represent the BID in this position”. Anthony recently assisted an individual in need of services and contacted Bronx Works. BronxWorks helps individuals and families improve their economic and social well-being.  This is only one of the programs Anthony has partnered with to help the community.

Westchester Square BID will continue to ensure that the district is clean and safe for the businesses and merchants, community members and the general public. Thanks to Anthony, we can all feel a bit safer.   

Earth Day at the Square

Join us for Earth Day, Saturday, April 27 from 12pm-3pm, as WSBID hosts a variety of earth-friendly activities in which kids, adults, and families can partake and enjoy. The event is in collaboration with the Department of Transportation and Weekend Walks as a five-borough initiative.  Earth Day is celebrated in more than 193 countries and we, as a community, will work together that day to embrace nature, promote environmental awareness and support the protection of our planet. 

One of our Earth Day activities will involve beautification of the Square. Students and volunteers have willingly offered their time and green thumbs to plant fresh flowers in the large planters all throughout the Square. This activity will rejuvenate our business district and add a touch of flora to the streets of our community. Additional volunteers are still needed and welcome to participate in this activity.

Recycling awareness is an essential aspect of Earth Day and WSBID is proud to offer a unique Earth Day recycling activity for kids and families that incorporates an educational component. Through this activity, kids and families will learn why recycling is important and how it impacts the planet. Families will also learn how reducing, reusing and recycling helps improve their community and preserve our planet.

Spend Earth Day with us at the Square and take part in the fun, learning, and beautifying of our business district.  Volunteers are still needed for the activities of this day. Help to make your community beautiful and protect the planet by offering your time for this important event. To volunteer please click here

Merchant Spotlight: Shanghai Red Restaurant

A decades-long friendship between Jose Rosado, Javiel Rodriguez and Tony Olavarria, has blossomed into a perfect partnership for the three owners of the district’s newest restaurant, Shanghai Red. “I was sitting on Javiel’s ‘Golden Chair’ getting my hair cut and we thought, Who better to open a restaurant than us?” said Rosado. Rodriguez and Rosado met at Rodriguez’s barber shop over four decades ago where they formed a long lasting friendship. Rodriguez is a successful businessman and founder of Beyond Barber Academy, the first barber training school in the Bronx. Rosado is a savvy businessman in his own right, having established some of Manhattan’s most iconic Latin music nightclubs of the 70s, 80s and 90s.

 The third partner in the trio, Olavarria, also has a history of sitting on the “Golden Chair” since his childhood. Olavarria’s knowledge of and experience in the restaurant business was the final piece of the puzzle that set in motion a unique opportunity to showcase a tasteful blend of Latin and Asian cuisine. “We were looking to fill a unique niche in the neighborhood,” he stated. “Our restaurant offers food choices from many Latin and Asian countries. There aren’t many places in the Bronx where you can choose from a menu that offers both sushi and churrasco,” he said.

The restaurant’s impressive cocktail menu offers 14 signature cocktails and includes Asian beer. As they created this unique menu, it was important to them to work with several well-known mixologists to develop a one-of-a kind signature cocktail menu.

While Shanghai Red is currently serving customers, the partners celebrated their official grand opening Wednesday, April 24th. Their goal is to make the restaurant one of the top restaurants in the Bronx. Boasting 4,000 square feet of space, the restaurant will accommodate a DJ, a private room for party rentals, seating for 123 guests, and an outdoor eating area. A Sunday Brunch menu is also in the works.

Located at 127 Westchester Square, Shanghai Red’s owners are highly satisfied with the restaurant’s location. Shanghai Red is open for business after 4 p.m. on Tuesday - Sunday (closed Monday). Happy Hour cocktails available from Tuesday - Friday, 4 - 8 p.m.

Your Storefront Becomes Vacant: What Next?

WSBID is available to assist district business owners with advertising their vacant or unoccupied storefronts or commercial business spaces. If you have a vacant commercial space or storefront, let us serve as a resource in helping you identify the appropriate advertising strategy to restore the vacancy to an active state. Merchants who are interested in advertising their vacancies should send the following commercial property information:


•      Square footage

    •       Amenities

    •       Price range

    •       Name and contact information of your realtor (if you have a point of contact)


Contact WSBID at 718-597-4629 to discuss your commercial vacancy or click here to see available locations.

In Case You Missed It


On March 13, the first of a three-part Business “Bootcamp” series, Marketing Part 1, took place with various WSBID merchants in attendance and eager to learn about business-boosting marketing tools and strategies. Objectives of the first Business “Bootcamp” focused on helping merchants understand:

• The concept of marketing and how to identify and implement an affordable marketing strategy
• How to identify and reach a target market  
• The concept of branding and how to create a business brand

The premier business event - which included the New York State Battery Park City Authority,  Bronx Chamber of Commerce, and Morris Park BID as collaborators - emphasized the importance of learning about your customer, your competition, defining your budget, and setting reasonable expectations for developing a marketing strategy. Other topics covered in the Business “Bootcamp” included low cost marketing ideas, affordable marketing services that can easily be implemented by business owners, and the value of branding your business.

In attendance was Anthony Peterson, Director of Diversity, MWBE Compliance Officer representing the New York State Battery Park City Authority. He offered this advice to BID merchants, “As a community of businesses, work together and partner with one another to highlight the specialties of your business services (food, signage, car service, etc.). Offer incentives whenever possible to build your business and develop a plan to build your business.”

If you missed out on the first session, no need to worry. The next Business “Bootcamp” is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, May 1, from 9:00 - 11:30 a.m. and will focus on Financials and Marketing Part II. Don’t pass up on a free opportunity to strengthen your business. Register for the May 1 Business “Bootcamp” here.

Celebrating Visionary Women; March is Women’s History Month

March is a special month for women far and wide as the contributions of women in American history are observed nationally during Women’s History Month. Over the years, Women’s History Month has had a corresponding theme and the 2019 Women's History Month theme is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.” The theme honors women who have led efforts to end war, violence, and injustice and pioneered the use of nonviolence to change society.   Visit your local library and learn about the famous and unsung heroines throughout the ages, and how women have played a role in the making of the United States and worldwide history. Or simply write a letter to a woman who has inspired you. Whoever you view as your heroine, take a moment sometime this month to acknowledge her.   This Women’s History Month, WSBID salutes the women, female entrepreneurs, and efforts of visionary women everywhere who dedicate their lives to their families, jobs, businesses and serving their communities.   

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the Square: McDermott’s Pub


St. Patrick’s Day 2019 is on Sunday, March 17 and observes St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. This day has evolved into a variety of festivals across the globe celebrating Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a whole lot of green. Luckily, the Square boasts its very own Irish Pub, McDermott’s, where you can bring your shamrocks and celebrate St. Patrick's Day at the Square (2634 E. Tremont Avenue).

Register for the First Business Bootcamp on March 13

Have you registered to participate in the first-ever Business Bootcamp for Westchester Square district business owners? In partnership with the Bronx Chamber of Commerce and the Morris Park BID, this first day - in a series of three business events - will highlight the ways in which business owners can use marketing tools to increase visibility as well as grow and improve their business.

The Business Bootcamp will consist of three (3) days of structured workshops. Dates are as follows:

    •       Wednesday, March 13 (8:30 am-11:30 am)

    •        Wednesday, April 10 (8:30 am-11:30 am)

    •        Wednesday, May 1 (8:30 am-11:30 am)


These workshops are free to businesses within the district. Registration is required. Light refreshments will be served. Don’t miss out. Register today.

Calling All Volunteers: Celebrating Earth Day is April 27

Spring is right around the corner and March 20 marks the official first day. Earth Day also draws near (April 22) and we will be celebrating and promoting environmental awareness & protection on April 27th. WSBID is seeking volunteers to assist with its Earth Day festivities and other events taking place this spring at the Square. Have a few extra hours to spare? We can use your help. Need to complete those community service hours? The district is the perfect place to help your community while meeting your service hours. High school students welcome. Let’s work together to make spring at the Square a great and environmentally pleasant place for all. To sign up click here

Above & Beyond the Call of Duty: U.S. Army Sergeant Harvey Oscar Dornellien Dedicated to Impacting Youth

When United States Army Sergeant First Class and Station Commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Office of Westchester Square, Harvey Oscar Dornellien is not assisting in the recruitment of men and women into the Army, he is busy developing programs for underserved youth. A native of St. Lucia who came to the U.S. and lived in Brooklyn during his late high school years, Sgt. Dornellien enlisted in the Army Reserves in 2002 after brief experiences as a construction worker and security guard. After completing his Bachelor’s Degree, Sgt. Dornellien enlisted in active duty in 2005 and traveled to 19 countries specializing in civil engineering.

Through his tenure in the Army, Sgt. Dornellien has completed two Bachelor Degrees and one Master’s Degree. He also participated in a pilot program at Stamford University as part of one of the Army’s many programs. “I first had an interest in joining the Navy, but when I thought about long-term educational growth and a stationary life, the Army allowed me to stay in one location and pursue my educational goals,” stated Sgt. Dornellien. “The Army invests in your education and training, and guarantees you a job, which I thought would work well for me.”

Sgt. Dornellien grew up in a poor family in St. Lucia. His mother struggled to maintain him and his many siblings during his childhood. In his high school years, the international organization, Save the Children, was instrumental in providing the financial assistance necessary for high school. It was this experience of charitable assistance that instilled in him the desire to one day help others who were in similar situations. On August 30, 2015, Sgt. Dornellien created his own charitable foundation, Give a Little. “Someone once helped me and I wanted to be able to help as many people as I could anywhere in the world,” stated Sgt. Dornellien. Using the Army as his platform, he volunteers his time in a variety of Boys and Girls clubs and organizations, and is currently coordinating an anti-bullying campaign that will span across the U.S. from New York to San Diego. He also focuses on youth ages 15-21 and is collaborating with a General Education Development (GED) program in the Bronx to offer career programs and services to young men and women.

While recruiting has afforded him the opportunity to make a difference in many communities, Sgt. Dornellien ultimately aspires to attend Harvard University and pursue a law degree. He hopes to utilize his experience and education by returning to his native St. Lucia and one day becoming its Prime Minister. “I would like to focus on making changes in healthcare and bringing tertiary-level education to St. Lucia. I also believe it’s youth are important and I would like to bridge the gap between the younger and older generations of St. Lucia. I hope to make some kind of a difference in the lives of St. Lucians,” stated Sgt. Dornellien. He also envisions St. Lucia participating in the Olympic Games sometime in the future

Mark Your Calendars: WSBID to Host its First Business “Bootcamp” on March 13


WSBID, in collaboration with the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, Morris Park BID, and Battery Park City Authority, is pleased to announce its very first Business "Bootcamp" This premiere business event aims to provide business owners with the information and tools needed to increase visibility, grow and improve a business, develop and strengthen a social media presence, and address the various legal issues encountered by small business owners. The Business “Bootcamp” will consist of three (3) days of structured workshops on the topics of marketing, business operations, and legal issues in business. Dates for the Business “Bootcamp” are as follows:

• Wednesday, March 13 (8:30 am)

• Wednesday, April 10 (8:30 am)

• Wednesday, May 1 (8:30 am)

These educational workshops - facilitated by experts in the fields of business, marketing and law - are free to business owners within the Westchester Square district. Registration is required. Light refreshments will be served. Register here.

NYC Department of Sanitation Enforces Foam Ban

Effective January 1, 2019, New York City stores, food service establishments, and mobile food vendors are no longer allowed to offer, sell or possess single-use foam food containers such as foam takeout clamshells, cups, plates, bowls and trays. Businesses affected by the foam ban will have a six-month warning period through June 30, 2019. Following the warning period, Notices of Violation will be issued and civil action may be taken. Be prepared and learn more

For the Love of Pets: National Love Your Pet Day is February 20

Pet owners rejoice! National Love Your Pet Day is on Wednesday, February 20. On this holiday, show your beloved animal how much you care by bringing them a special treat, giving them more attention, or taking them on a walk through Westchester Square.

No pet? No worries! The district is home to several pet stores including Petland (25 Westchester Square) and Zoo-Rama Pets (2566 E. Tremont Ave.) where a variety of pups and aquatic species are eagerly awaiting a home. Is your pet in need of medical care and services? Visit the Bronx Veterinary Center of Westchester Square (66 Westchester Square), which treats dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, ferrets, pocket pets and other small exotic pets.

On National Pet Day (February 20), we’d love to feature your special pet on our social media. Use #WSLoveYourPet to show off your pet on the WSBID social site.

Merchant Spotlight: Esmeralda Flower Shop

Esmeralda Quiterrez has been the owner of Esmeralda Flower Shop since April 2018 and with over three years of experience working with plants and flowers, she holds the expertise to meet the Westchester Square community’s floral needs. Her shop offers customers a friendly, welcoming and floral-scented environment, and she enjoys taking the time to explain how to properly care for plants and flowers. Blooms and blossoms are always in season and the perfect gift for any occasion. Visit Esmeralda Flower Shop at 1422 Williamsbridge Road from 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday thru Saturday and 9:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

What the 2019 Tax Laws and New Minimum Wage Increase Means to Your Business


As tax season approaches, it’s important for business owners to understand how the 2019 tax laws, any key provisions, or updates affects businesses. Utilize and consult with the tax service offices in the district to learn what you need to know this year.   
A new minimum wage increase went into effect recently in New York City. The increase for a worker’s salary is determined by the industry (hospitality, fast food, and others) and businesses owners should have a plan in place to budget for the increase. To assist businesses in being prepared for tax, wage and other business issues, WSBID will offer a Business “Bootcamp” in March. This bootcamp will provide useful information on how to leverage technology and marketing techniques in business, and help business owners learn more about many of the financial and legal issues involved with owning a small business. Additional details on the Business Bootcamp is forthcoming.

Mark Gjonaj Supports Passing Storefront and Building Signage Bill

Council Member Mark Gjonaj recently released a statement seeking to pass a bill that stops the enforcement of the city’s outdated storefront signage law. If passed, the bill would require the city to refund signage related fines issued to businesses within the last year, and create a task force to study the issue and modernize the law. View the full press statement from Council Member Mark Gjonaj.