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Main Street Shows Signs of Steady Recovery

Gloomy national jobs report not reflective of steady recovery and optimism across Long Island.

A gloomy national jobs report for May has sparked fears of a weakening economy on Wall Street, but a steady recovery continues on Main streets throughout the Long Island suburbs.

No one is more emblematic of the new optimism than Chris O’Donnell, a former Wall Street executive who in the last month opened C & C Skate Factory, an extreme sports retailer, on Main Street in Farmingdale.

"There was a demand for it," said O'Donnell, who is looking to hire two full-time and one part-time employees this summer. "I took a look at Main Street and saw 12-14 empty stores and it just seemed like a good time to [open a business]."

O’Donnell, 33, traded long hours as director of events at the New York Stock Exchange to be closer to his family and neighborhood on the Nassau-Suffolk border.

“My wife and I live in the community and we have a stake in it doing well,” O’Donnell told Patch. “I don’t want people to drive through Farmingdale; I want them to drive to Farmingdale. That’s a big difference.”

The for the Town of Oyster Bay, which includes Farmingdale – released last week by the New York State Department of Labor – show unemployment at 5.8 percent (8,833 persons) in April, down from 6.4 percent a year earlier. There were 153 fewer unemployed in April compared to March.

The state Labor numbers did show private sector job growth across Long Island slowed. In April, for instance, 6,200 jobs were added. But in March and earlier in the year, the region was adding 10,000 jobs or more a month.  

Job seekers and merchants alike are hopeful, even if signs of a full-on recovery are not obvious.

Francesca Carlow sees an clear jump in the local economy. The owner of in Plainview says the winter months were dismal but has seen business increase in the last three weeks.

"I'm also hearing that many of my sons' friends – 21-year-olds – are finding jobs now," Carlow said. "But then, you hear of 100 teachers being laid off nearby."

Fred Ordoñez is hiring at Village Bagels in Syosset.

"We're hiring now," said Ordoñez, whose eatery has been open 10 months. "We're looking for one full-time and one part-time person. This area is at a high level and they don't feel [the bad economy] really." 

Shawn Weiss, 21, was waiting to be interviewed Friday morning at the coffee shop at . The recent SUNY-New Paltz graduate hoped to land an internship in social media.

"As long as I get more experience I'll be able to send out my resume and be better,” Weiss said. “There's a decent amount of jobs for certain markets, which is nice, especially for entry-level." 

Marc Soojian, 33, an anesthesiologist at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, just , an eatery off Main Street in the North Shore village of Northport. He’s so optimistic in the brand – the original Oakland restaurant was started by his great grandfather in 1929 – Soojian signed a 10-year lease.

“Our business started during the Great Depression and survived the Great Depression,” Soojian said. “The type of food we’re serving is inexpensive.”

That's comfort food served with a dollop of optimism.

With reporting by , , and .

Thomas J. Kehoe June 04, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Main Street Northport shows signs of recovery for several reasons. Probably the primary reason is the pro-active stance Northport Village has taken to help stimulate this recovery. Two years ago Northport had no outdoor dining. Northport now has 17 restaurants and eateries with permit for outdoor dining. On any nice day, our Main Street is bustling with activity, with people frequenting our business district. Recovery does not happen serendipitously.
Terrence Fox June 21, 2011 at 05:57 PM
I wish I came across this article sooner, if this is your pro-active stance I hope you have learned it took way to long to react to your village's needs, If you had looked at what other towns have been doing to keep up you'll see your only a few years to late. I also have to say your pro-active stance on the town dock is just unbelievably you raise the docking fee to 3 a foot, you are not a marina, you don't have floating docks you barely have electric, you don't have a pool, so I would love to see your notes on how you came up with that. I use to stop there during the week and go to skippers or the ritz for dinner, but If you think but I'm not gonna spend 150 dollars or even half that to tie up for a few hours you must be nuts. yes I have a 50 ft boat, and don't say well than you can afford it. I'll tell you what I do, I go across to Ct. to the crabshell where it's 10 dollars for small boats and 15 for bigger boats on floating docks or to norwalk where it's 2.50 a ft and they have 50 amp electric, I will even go to Prime in huntington where they charge 150 dollars but they give it all back on your dinner bill or drinks so I wouldn't go patting your self on your back yet

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