The storefront landscape along Broadway in Hewlett and Woodmere has undergone a transformation recently. In less than two months, five new businesses have held grand opening ribbon-cuttings.
A.J. & MOS apparel and accessories shop, Artistic Men’s Grooming barbershop, Dr. Denise Cohen’s pediatric dentistry, Harbor Grill restaurant and Orangetheory Fitness have all opened in the past five months.
David Friedman, president of the Hewlett-Woodmere Business Association, who has been busy hosting the ceremonies, said he couldn’t recall a time when so many new businesses opened in such a short period. “We’ve never had this many ribbon-cuttings take place in the winter,” said Friedman, a nearly lifelong Hewlett resident and the 2018 Herald Person of the Year. “But this is great for our area, since we don’t want to see empty storefronts. We want to see every space filled.”
Friedman noted that the HWBA was formed when the Hewlett Business Association and the Woodmere Merchants Association merged in 2011. “We felt that it would be better to have the two hamlets working together,” he said.
Friedman became the interim president of the HWBA in 2014, and was elected president a year later. “Every day I try to recruit new businesses to the Hewlett-Woodmere area,” he said. “We go to the Town of Hempstead and help the new businesses obtain the proper paperwork and permits they need. We also try to get local politicians involved, to help encourage businesses to come to the area.”
Inviting elected officials to appear at business openings and other special events is another HWBA function. Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen attended the ribbon-cuttings for Artistic Men’s Grooming and the Harbor Grill on Feb. 7, and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito were on hand at Cohen’s ceremony on March 5.
Cohen, who opened her dentistry office at 1049 Broadway in early February, highlighted an example of the HWBA’s ongoing support for new businesses. “PSEG was offering a special promotion price to new businesses,” she said. “I needed a letter of recommendation to qualify for the promotion, and David [Friedman] wrote the letter for me. It shows that he truly cares about this community and is a great representative for this area.”
Cohen grew up in North Woodmere, and now lives in Woodmere with her husband and three children. She said she was thrilled with the opportunity to serve her home community. “My husband and I would drive down Broadway and we would see the need for opening a new business there,” she said. “The office is a perfect location for me, as it’s just a few minutes from my home, and my children are able to walk to the office from school.”
For the other new business owners, familiarity was the main reason for opening up in the area. That was the case for Orangetheory, a fitness center at 1312 Broadway in Hewlett. “We’ve had so much success in our Rockville Centre location that we decided to expand to the Five Towns,” Manager Molly Bastow said.
Because Hewlett and Woodmere are hamlets within the Town of Hempstead, the HWBA also functions as their unofficial government. “We try to get involved in all facets of the community,” said Friedman, who is informally known as “the mayor.” “We help organize things in the area such as the Memorial Day Parade, and we helped build the Veterans Memorial Plaza in Hewlett.”
And he plans to keep up his recruiting efforts. “We always make sure that our stores are filled,” Friedman said, “since we’re in a prime location, with an excellent school system as well as with three LIRR stations around us.”